“There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’ “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’”
The story of the rich man and Lazarus told in Luke 16:19-31 makes it clear that there are only two places available for everyone who dies. In the same way that after the verdict in the trial of God we will be guilty or innocent, the final destination is the place of punishment or peace. There is no middle ground between the two places, only two: heaven or hell. There is no purgatory or hell light, there is no pre-heaven or limbo. The Bible is very clear and only speaks of two real places.
Let’s see how the Lord described to hell, the place where the rich man was. He says the man was in torment, he was very thirsty and was engulfed in flames. For its part, the beggar Lazarus was carried by angels to a place where he received consolation. Both places are separated and no one can go from one another. That means that when we die, nothing can move from where we arrive. If there is torment, any effort made by the livings who love us to move away it would be useless.
What it tells the story of the rich man and Lazarus from verse 27 it is something we should meditate a lot. Some traditions teach that the dead intercede for those living or we can talk to them. What the Gospel of Luke contradicts all those traditions. The good news of salvation reaches people through the servants of God who preach to them. And many times the Lord says who has ears, hear.
I invite you to meditate on Luke 16:19-31. While you live you have the option of choosing your home for eternity. I give you the bad news that we have secured hell by default. It is not about whether we are good or bad, our works don’t help us to save but condemn us. I remember to you that one simple lie is equivalent to breaking the whole law of God, which will condemn us without mercy.
Only the grace of God through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross can save us. It is not that you are a distinguished member of this or that church. It is not that you’re the son of a pastor, is not about religion or human tradition. Repent of your sins, believe in the name of Jesus Christ, become to Him and have eternal life. God bless you.