I find it so frustrating as a Christian when I talk about the goodness and greatness and awesomeness that comes when you accept Jesus as your Lord and saviour, only to have someone ask,"But what about those who don't accept Him?"
I get irritated about this because I know the question is really about hell, and in my experience people become indignant at the thought of them not going to heaven 'just because they didn't accept Jesus'.
But let's forget about hell or heaven for a minute, and go back to what I was actually talking about.
What I'm talking about is the all the goodness that comes from saying yes to Jesus. What I'm talking about is love; crazy, over-the-top, passionate romantic love, and at the same time that fatherly love that protects you, always looks out for your best interests and does everything it can to help you succeed, what I'm talking about is peace; not just calmness and quietness, but a peace within you, that comes from the deep-rooted knowledge that someone has your back always, what I'm talking about is forgiveness; not just 'Look, you really hurt me but, I guess I can get over it' forgiveness, but forgiveness that sees beyond your failures and mistakes and refuses to judge you according to them, what I'm talking about is GRACE.
So when people ask me about what happens to those who don't accept Jesus, there are two thoughts that cross my mind. Either those people haven't really heard the truth about Jesus, His love and all that He has done, or those people are crazy.
Think about it, who in their right mind, would hear about unending joy, perfect peace, life in abundance, love and forgiveness that never fails, a constant support and encourager, and say, "Nah, I'd rather be alone, always depressed, always worrying and confused, constantly weighed down and defined by every little thing I've ever done wrong in my whole life"?
It's like being offered free first class passage on a plane and choosing to pay to ride in the hold with the luggage instead. Why would anyone do that? It doesn't make sense!
Of course there is also the option that people haven't heard the truth about Jesus, and His love and His mercy and His compassion, but that's what we should be telling people, that is the gospel!
Because, whilst yes, hell is a very real consequence, and yes it is forever, people shouldn't chose Jesus in order to avoid hell any more than they should chose Jesus to get to heaven.
Heaven and hell are not the point, Jesus is!
His radical, unrelenting, passionate, forgiving, merciful, love and grace are the point. A relationship with the one who created the universe and created you and knows you is the point.
So to those who get offered all of that, and chose to go it alone, I don't really understand you, I kind of feel sorry for you. But for those who have not been shown or offered all of that, and have instead been offered a 'gospel' that sounds like a set of rules, a curse, or a burden, I sincerely apologise, because that is not Christ at all.
Christ is a blessing, is life itself, is love itself. Heaven is forever with Jesus. If you don't want to be with Him in this short period of time we call life, why would you want to be with Him FOREVER? Or what do you think heaven is?
Heaven is forever with Jesus, it's life without Him that you should be concerned about, because that's hell.