16. Hell, purgatory, and heaven seem to differ the same as despair, fear, and assurance of salvation.
The thought that Luther puts out in this Thesis is that Hell is characterized as utter despair, while Purgatory would be filled with Fear. In the same way Heaven would be described as the assurance of salvation.
Many who believe in Jesus find it hard to believe that the God who loves them so much would send anyone to hell. Some would have us believe that there is no Hell, or at least that no people go there, but the scripture teaches contrary to that idea.
We know that Heaven and Hell are not physical places that we can travel too and explore. They are a spiritual existence. To be in Heaven is to be “perfectly with God”, to be in Hell is to be “completely without God”. Jesus spoke of the “Kingdom of Heaven” and the “Kingdom of this world”. God rules the kingdom of heaven and the devil rules the kingdom of this world. Jesus came into this world to bring the kingdom of God (heaven) to the people of this world. Those who believe that Jesus as their personal savior are now living here on earth, but they are a part of the Kingdom of God. Those who reject the saving love of Jesus and don’t believe that He is their savior are still living in the kingdom of this world.
So we see in the scripture that at the end of time those who now live here on earth but in the kingdom of God will go to eternally live in the kingdom of Heaven where they are “perfectly with God”. Those who chose not to live without Jesus in His kingdom here on earth will continue to live without Him in their life for eternity. That would be Hell. God does not “send” us there we choose to continue to live without Him.
Lord God, I know that your kingdom has come here on earth, I pray that I may remain within Your kingdom and one day live forever with You in Heaven. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.