Fisher's Catechism

Some Thoughts on Hell

From the Shorter Catechism as Expounded by Fisher's Catechism.

Have you ever wondered about God's presence even in hell? Below is sub-question 40 of Shorter Catechism Question 4. on God's Infinity...

Q. 40. How is he present in hell?
A. In a way of tremendous power and justice, upholding the damned in their being, that they may lie under the strokes of his vindictive wrath for evermore, Psalm 90:11; Matt. 25:46.

Shorter Catechism Question 19. What is the misery of that estate whereinto man fell?
Answer: All mankind, by their fall, lost communion with God, are under his wrath and curse, and so made liable to all the miseries of this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell forever.

Q. 32. What do you understand by hell?
A. A state and place of torment, prepared for the devil and his angels, Matt. 25:41.

Q. 33. If it was prepared for the devil and his angels, what concern have any of mankind with it?
A. Though it was prepared for the devil and his angels, yet the wicked of the world shall be turned into it also, and all the nations that forget God, Psalm 9:17.

Q. 34. Why must the wicked and ungodly world be turned into hell, with the devil and his angels?
A. Because they served and obeyed the devil as their god, and were in a confederacy with him against the living and true God, Isaiah 28:15; Eph. 2:2.

Q. 35. How many fold are the punishments of the damned in hell?
A. Twofold; the punishment of loss, and the punishment of sense.

Q. 36. What loss shall the damned in hell sustain?
A. They shall lose God, the chief good, Matt. 25:41; they shall lose the vision and fruition of the glorious Immanuel, Matt. 7:23; they shall lose their own souls, Matt. 16:26, and all the pleasures of sin and sense, in which they placed their happiness in this world, Luke 16:25.

Q. 37. What will be the punishment of sense which the wicked shall suffer in hell?
A. It is represented in scripture by their being shut up in outer darkness, Matt. 8:12; in a lake of fire and brimstone, Rev. 20:10, where the smoke of their torment shall ascend up for ever and ever, Rev. 14:11; which is called the second death, chap. 21:8, the worm that never dies, and the fire that shall never be quenched, Mark 9:44.

Q. 38. How do you prove, from scripture, that the pains of hell shall be for ever, or everlasting?
A. The wicked are said to be “cast into everlasting fire,” Matt. 18:8; to “go away into everlasting punishment,” Matt. 25:46; to be “punished with everlasting destruction,” 2 Thess. 1:9; to have the “mist of darkness” reserved for them for ever, 2 Pet. 2:17; to be “tormented day and night, for ever and ever,” Rev. 20:10; and by several other expressions of the like nature.

Q. 39. Is eternity of punishment essential to the threatening, or penal sanction of the law?
A. No; else there never had been a satisfaction for sin.

Q. 40. Whence then arises the eternity of punishment?
A. From the nature of the creature, which being finite, can never be capable of enduring the uttermost of infinite wrath; Psalm 90:11 — “Who knoweth the power of thine anger?”

Q. 41. How can it consist with the justice of God, to inflict eternal punishment for temporal sinning?
A. Because sin, objectively considered, is an infinite evil, as being committed against an infinitely holy God; and therefore nothing can expiate it, but a satisfaction of infinite worth, which mere creatures can never yield, 1 Pet. 1:18, 19.

Q. 42. What sort of sinners shall undergo the most dreadful degree of punishment in hell?
A. The despisers of Christ and the gospel: it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah, for Tyre and Sidon, who never heard of Christ, than for Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, and other cities, nations, and persons, to whom Christ, and his great salvation, have been offered, and yet rejected through unbelief, Matt. 11:21-25; Heb. 2:3.

Q. 43. What should all this teach us?
A. That however sweet sin be in the mouth, it will be bitter in the belly, even lamentation, mourning, and wo, in the latter end, Ezek. 2:10; it should teach us to fly from the wrath to come, to the horns of the New Testament altar, the satisfaction and intercession of Christ; there being no name by which we can be saved from sin and wrath, except the name of Jesus only, Acts 4:12.

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