One of the most unnerving passages in the Bible is found in the Gospel of Mark, “If your hand offend you, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell … where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched (Mark 9:43-48). This passage teaches us four things that ought to make every man tremble before a holy God.

First, men must choose between their sin and eternal life. You cannot have both. If you want eternal life, you must forsake your sin even if it is as dear to you as your own hand. If you choose your sin, you choose hell.

Second, hell fire is eternal. It never goes out. Those in hell will be tormented day and night forever (Rev. 20:10).

Third, the statement “their worm does not die” implies that the sinner shall suffer conscious punishment. This awful truth is plainly stated in such passages as “wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 13:42).

Fourth, the soul of the sinner is described by God as a worm because the sinner has demeaned himself to feast on garbage. When we feed on sinful things, seeking happiness and fulfillment in them, we debase the image of God and live like animals of the lowest kind — like a worm in a garbage pile or a maggot in a stinking carcass.

~Lee Brainard, February 21, 2015

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