Last year Ed Stetzer showed us that most people today aren't concerned about the afterlife. They aren't asking the question earlier generations used to ask, "Where will I go when I die?" But that doesn't make the reality of our immortality and the eternal state any less important. In fact that culture shift makes developing a biblical theology of the afterlife and the ability to communicate it that much more important. Some will balk at such doctrine and flippantly dismiss it. This leads us to the second myth about hell.
Myth #2 Hell is Where Sinners Party
I have actually heard this myth quite a bit. When discussing salvation from sin, death and hell with those outside of the Kingdom some have said, "Man, I'd rather party in hell with all my friends than hang out in heaven in white robes with a bunch of uptight religious people."
Of course, I don't believe that this reflects anyone's real theology of the heaven and hell. It's simply a retort that reveals more about how they view themselves and religious people than it does their view of the afterlife. It is often a way of dismissing the claims and promises of Jesus. But it comes up enough to warrant dealing with it here.
Hell is not a dark, comfortable pub where you can hang out with friends and talk about the meaning of life (or hell) throughout the ages. Nor is hell some kind of everlasting rave thumping with house music and lit with glow sticks. Hell is no party. Hell is not what you make it. Jesus describes hell as a place "weeping and gnashing of teeth." It is a dark, endless, joyless, place of judgement.
Scripture tells us that it is appointed to us all to die, and after that face judgment. As sinners who have broken God's law we can expect the Judge to find us guilty and sentence us to that place of "outer darkness." Our hope is not that we can persuade the judge to see things our way, or just give us a pass. There is no probation or work release program that we can hope for after death. Our only hope before God is that he will look to our advocate, Jesus Christ, who alone provides the forgiveness of sins and the righteousness we lack. Though guilty, we are judged to be righteous in Jesus, and are rescued from the judgement of hell and ushered into the presence of God and his people.