If we look to the bible to answer this question, there are only two possible answers to where you would go if you died today: Heaven or hell.
If youíre saved, youíll be in heaven. If youíre not, youíll be in hell. Itís as simple as that and itís very important to realize that whichever one of those two destinations becomes your final dwelling place, you will be there by choice. Granted, the state in which you came into this world was not by choice, but the state in which you leave it will be.
This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. (NIV)
Now choose life. We all have that choice to make. Why? Because the day that Adam and Eve chose to follow the lies of Satan instead of the instruction of God, it resigned all future generations to be born into a world of sin and sinners, death and destruction. We are born as sinners, and the penalty of sin is death and eternity in hell, but it doesnít have to end that way. It all depends on our decisions. Do we want to honor God and seek redemption, or do we instead pay homage to the ways of evil currently at work in this world? For those of us who choose God, those of us who want to shrug off that cloak of sinfulness we were born with and instead rise up from beneath it as a son or daughter of God, He has provided a way for us to regain our right standing as children before Him.
But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunishedó he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. (NIV)
We are justified freely by His grace, through faith in Jesus Christ. All who believe. Therein lies the choice to be made, and the explanation as to how the man sent to hell will actually be there by choice. God has set forth the way to salvation, He has given us the key to the doorway of heaven, but it is still each individualís decision as to whether or not itís accepted. The alternative is hell. Letís talk about that for a minute. Hell. The abode of evil. Eternal punishment. The dwelling place of Satan. Everlasting fire. Place of condemned souls. Eternity without God. The words of Christ regarding Lazarus and the rich man give us quite an education on hell:
In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.' "But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.' "He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.' "Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.' " 'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.' "He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.' " (NIV)
Disturbing as it might be, we have been given a literal window into hell. Itís torment, itís agony in fire, and a great chasm exists between it and heaven, which means itís once in hell, always in hell. We are also given an alarming bit of insight here: The rich man, who wanted desperately to warn his family to change their ways so they would not face the same punishment, was told that there are some who have so firmly set their minds against the knowledge of God, that not even someone rising from the dead, as a witness to the existence of hell, would be sufficient enough evidence to warn them of the reality of it. It is a testament to the stubborn, hard-hearted and prideful nature which exists in much of mankind, and it is further explanation as to how a man in hell will be there by choice.
We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? (NIV)
God does not send anyone to hell who did not previously choose to be there, by their own decision to honor evil instead of good, and by refusing the gift of salvation offered through acceptance of Christ:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. (NIV)
If youíd like to continue on the subject of salvation, more information can be found here: How Do I Become Saved?
Maybe youíre one of those people who donít believe hell even exists. Maybe you think youíre above it, but I certainly wouldnít want to be the one to test that theory. I really doubt youíll get a do over, on the contrary, itís do or die, right now. That brings us back to the decision that must be made by each and every one of us. Think you still have plenty of time? Maybe you do, and maybe you donít. Maybe this is the day youíve been waiting for, because you may not get another chance. Not a single one of us knows the number of days allotted to us in this life. I assure you, the end will come, and when it does, it will either be eternal life with God in paradise, or eternal life without God in hell.
Which one is it for you?