Why cowards end up in lake of fire and brimstone?

God casts cowards into lake of fire and brimstone in the same way He casts out murderers, liars, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, abominable and the faithless. Is being coward a sin? In this post, we will explore why cowards have no place in the kingdom of heaven and why they end up in the lake of fire and brimstone.

Why Coward?

He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly [G1169 δειλός deilos], unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

Rev 21:7-8

The Greek word ‘deilos’ occurs only in two others places in the gospels (Mat 8:26, Mar 4:40) referring to the same event, spoken by Jesus Himself to show the lack of faith among His disciples. Luke 8:25 also mentions the event but uses the word ‘afraid’. Let’s understand how Jesus uses the word.

On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful [G1169 δειλός deilos]? How [is it] that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”

Mark 4:35-41

In the above event, Jesus was right there with the disciples in the boat, yet they were fearful because of the windstorm. The reason for their fear was clearly mentioned by Jesus Christ Himself, that is, they had no faith. We may also have situations like windstorms and yet we must not lose faith or doubt His promises or His ability to protect us.

Fiery Furnace

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that [is] [the case,] our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver [us] from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”

Dan 3:16-18

It is this undeniable faith in God (even if He didn’t save us) that gives us courage to face the enemy with boldness. Hence, if anyone is coward, it simply means they don’t trust God. If we want fire to not hurt us, then we must be bold to enter the furnace of fire.

Lion’s Den

Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously. … Then they answered and spoke before the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the injunction which you signed, but keeps making his petition three times a day.”

Dan 6:10,13

Daniel knew the consequence of disobeying the King. There is nothing in the law that says to pray towards Jerusalem with windows open.

But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

Matt 6:6

Contrary to Daniel’s actions, Jesus even taught us to pray in inner rooms and in secret, known only to the Father. It is extremely important to obey what Christ taught but not as an excuse to be cowards. If Daniel prayed secretly and not the usual way, it will only show his fear for the king’s order rather than God. But, Daniel showed His boldness even after He knew that He praying openly would cost His life. How can we expect lions to not hurt us, when we are not willing to enter the lion’s den?

Against a Giant

Then a champion came out from the armies of the Philistines named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. … Again the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together. When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.

1 Sam 17:4, 10

When Goliath of Gath was mocking the armies of Israel, it wasn’t God’s intention to let this philistine continue to mock. After all, He wants Goliath of Gath to get killed. Hence, God was looking for someone ready to fight against this giant. Unfortunately, everyone was dismayed and greatly afraid except one little shepherd boy.

Then David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who [is] this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” … Moreover David said, “The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you!”

1 Sam 17:26, 37

All God wanted is one brave little boy to defeat Goliath. If we want to defeat enemies and situations that arise as a giant like Goliath, we must first have the boldness and courage to fight against them.

“Spiritual” Excuses to remain Cowards

  • Before Fiery Furnace: I will fall down before the idol but in my heart I will pray to God.
  • Before Lion’s Den: It is God’s will that I must pray in secret from now on.
  • Before Goliath: I will pray that God will send His mighty angel to defeat Goliath

Christians give all sorts of “spiritual” excuses to remain cowards. God can give you strength (Luke 24:49) but it is we who need to trust in God fully and be courageous. What they don’t realise is, they have no faith and a lake of fire and brimstone is waiting for them.

I remember some pastor saying this story to show what it really means to have faith: There was a severe drought with no sign of any rain. On a hot day, Christians in the village were called to the church to pray for rain. Only one little boy came to that prayer with an umbrella. As James said, faith without works is dead. Just as the little boy came to the church with an umbrella, God is expecting us to be courageous, trusting in Him for everything. The rest who are cowards will have their part in the lake of fire and brimstone.

For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.

Mark 8:38

Do you have the courage to stand firm for Jesus Christ and His words in any situation?