1. Priorities. As Christians, the priority is to be with Jesus. Paradise, heaven, New Jerusalem - whatever stages we find in the Bible, the priority of being with our Lord is the important principle. Jesus said, in John 14:3: "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." It is better to be absent from the body and present with the Lord. Paul said he was hard pressed whether to stay here or go to heaven, because he was given a glimpse into heaven and knew the indescribable joy of being there, but he also realized that God had a job for him to do here on earth, first.
2. The Permanence of The Decision. There is no purgatory or 'holding place.' That idea came straight out of the pagan mystery religions. There is not a shred of evidence in Scripture to support such a fantasy, but it did serve the purpose of pagan religions. Your destiny cannot be changed. The Bible tells us that 'it is appointed unto to man once to die, and after that, the judgment.' There are no second chances. This is it. He requires that we live by faith. Today is the day of decision. We are not guaranteed one more moment of life on earth than the one we breathe this moment.
As in our example of the rich man, one of the tortures of hell is to look across the fixed gulf and view the comforts and blessings of those who have accepted Christ. I believe that throughout eternity the unbeliever will be constantly reminded of what he missed because he rejected God's call. I believe he will remember services where he heard the gospel message, or times when a Christian shared the gospel opportunity with him, and where the tug of the Holy Spirit was strong in his heart, but he walked away from it and rejected it. In eternity it will be an instant replay over and over again in his mind - that he had a chance that he could have accepted, but he did not
You may say, "I don't believe that," as if by not believing you could make it untrue. Whether you believe it or not, it's still true. The truth does not depend on belief in it. Eternity for those who reject Jesus Christ will be a place where, as you saw in the case of the rich man, you would never want to go, and you would never want anyone you love to go.
You may say, "I don't believe in electricity." The lights will still go on.
Truth is truth. That's why God has given us the Holy Scriptures, so that we can know the truth - and that truth will set us free.