Hell was not made for people; hell was created for the devil and his angels (see Matthew 25:41). It was never God's intention to send a person to hell. He does everything He can to keep us out of it. But God has given us a free will. We have the ability to choose, and God will not violate that. If you want to go to heaven, then you will—if you put your faith in Christ. If you want to go to hell, then you will. It is your choice.
People will protest on that final day and say, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?" (Matthew 7:22). And Jesus will sadly but firmly say, "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!" (Matthew 7:23).
Some people might say, "Wait! I went to church on Sunday!" And, "Wait! I received communion!" And, "Wait! I was baptized." But Jesus will say, in effect, "But I never knew you. It was just a thing you did. We never had a relationship. You broke My commandments left and right. It's your own choice that you are facing."
It is not enough to say you believe in God. It is not enough to acknowledge that God exists. You need to turn from your sin and put your faith in Jesus Christ, and Him alone, as Savior and Lord.
As Timothy Keller said, "Hell is simply one's freely chosen path going on forever." If that is what you want, then that is what you will get. God wants you to go to heaven, but He will not force you. He gives you a choice, and it is up to you what you do with that choice.
Excerpted from "A Freely Chosen Path" by Harvest Ministries (used by permission).