A Loving God & Hell

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How Can A Loving God Create A Place Called Hell?

 

A question that is often raised by unbelievers is how could a God of love send anyone to Hell? If He really loved man all that much, how could He bring himself to the point of sending anyone to a place of eternal torment? To the unbeliever, who does not see himself to be wicked enough to deserve eternal punishment, this question puts to rest the need of taking the gospel seriously. However, in doing so he only fools himself into a false sense of security that will be suddenly ripped away from him the moment he dies. From a Biblical viewpoint, there are three important facts that the unbeliever should consider. 

1) God is not responsible for men and women going to hell. Some how people have been mislead into thinking that it is God who decides who goes to hell. Such a God in their minds is some kind of cruel being who delights in torturing all refuse to submit to His laws. However, the Scriptures declare just the opposite. God does not desire to see anyone suffer in hell and would be delighted if all men ended up in heaven.

1 Tim 2:3-6, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,”

2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

If God is not the One responsible for man going to hell then who is? Jesus answered that question when talking to Nicodemus one evening (John 3:1-18). Nicodemus wanted to know how to get into the Kingdom (v.2) (heaven) and Jesus responded that he needed to be “born again” (v.3) This answer puzzled Nicodemus and so the Lord explained that to be born again would involved the loving work of God as gave Himself on the cross in the place of all of mankind (v.16). To be born again each individual would have to trust in this work of God to be rescued from hell: “whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” 

Jesus, however, did not stop there but continued on by saying that He, as God, did not come to condemn the world but rather to rescue a world already condemned. Then in verse 18 Jesus makes a profound statement.

"He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."

Jesus indicated that every person, whether the greatest and most religious person or the vilest of sinner, a part from trusting in Christ for salvation, is already condemned to hell. The reason he is condemned is that he has chosen to suffer eternal punishment. It is his choice to go to hell not God’s! An illustration might bring this to a better light.

Let us say that a wise and loving judge found his son standing before him with the most serious criminal charges against him. His son has publicly murdered a man in cold blood and shows no remorse for his sin. In fact he feels justified in what he has done. The trial commences and witness after witness is put on the stand who testifies that they personally saw his son commit this hideous crime. There is no question, there is no room for doubt, the son is guilty and the law demands the death penalty. 

Would we question the love of the Judge toward His son if he sentenced him to die? We would say the judge must follow the law he has sworn to uphold regardless of who violates it. There can be no room for partiality when enforcing the law of the land. What if the judge after sentencing his son, stood up, took off his robe, walked down to his handcuffed son, and offered to die in his son’s place so that his son might go free? We would say that this judge is a fair and just judge as well as a loving judge. Here is a man willing to die for his own son’s crimes.

However, what if the son refused the offer of his father and in fact turned his back on his father’s loving offer, and is taken away to be hanged? Would we question how could a loving judge and father send his son to suffer punishment? Never! We would say just the opposite that he was truly a loving judge who was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to set his son free. His sentence of his son in no way diminished his love for his son. The same can be said of God. He came to earth to die in the place of every sinner. If the sinner chooses to turn his back on God’s offer of salvation, then he goes to eternal punishment not because of what God has done but because of his own choosing.

2) God becoming a man and living among sinful man for 33 years and dying on the cross reserved for a criminal and enduring all the cruel torture and injustice of men would not have done so if there was another way man could enter into heaven. If God, through His endless love, could have overlooked the sin of man than why would He have gone through all that? It would make no sense. Listen to the Lord’s own Words on how difficult this was.

Mark 14:32-42, “Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, "Sit here while I pray." And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch." He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will." Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words. And when He returned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him. Then He came the third time and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand."

Luke 22:41-46, “And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done." Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. Then He said to them, "Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation."

Matt 27:45-46, “Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"

If God had to go through all of this to offer you a rescue from eternal torment, then it must say a lot about our true condition as sinners. God does not measure our sinfulness based on the sinfulness of others, but on the standard of His Holy and Righteous Law. That is why in Rom. 3:23 it says that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory (righteous standard) of God.” God’s view of sinful man’s condition is best summarized by the writer Isaiah.

Isa 64:6, “But we are all like an unclean thing (a leaper), And all our righteous works are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.”

3) Finally, whatever you may think about God and His love does not alter the facts. Those who refuse to acknowledge that their sin has condemned then to eternal hell have will not escape eternal punishment. If you have not believed in Christ read the sobering words

Rev 20:11-15, “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”

Mark 9:43-44, “to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched — where 'Their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.”

Matt 25:41-46, "Then He will also say to those on the left hand,' Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels. . . And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

Today is the day of salvation!