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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Can A Loving God Send People to Hell?

Hell is a terrible place. It is described as an everlasting fire which was created for the punishment of the devil and his angels. Christ told the story of how one man in hell was in such torment that he begged for just one drop of water to cool his tongue. Some want to know how, if God is love, he could send people to eternal judgement ‘just because’ they did not put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. 

The problem is that we do not realize the seriousness of sin.

Sin is not just a ‘mistake’ or a ‘slip’; it is an act of willful and self-centered rebellion which, if not dealt with, is sufficient to separate us from a holy God forever. Sin is lawlessness and the wages of sin is death. God is too pure to look upon sin with favor and cannot tolerate wrong: He must judge sin in righteousness. How could an absolutely perfect and holy God accept unrepentant sinners into His presence? By sinning we deliberately set ourselves against God; how can we, as the enemies of God, expect to spend eternity with the One we have rejected?

All of us were in this state at one time. We had rebelled against God and become alienated from Him. He had every right to condemn us all to destruction, but He chose to offer us a plan of redemption through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ suffered infinite torment and died on the cross at Calvary while we were still sinners, demonstrating God’s love for us. He did this because it gives Him no pleasure to see wicked men going to hell and because He does not want anyone to perish, but wants them to come to repentance.

Christ’s sacrifice was God’s special plan to cleanse us from our sins and reconcile us to Himself. If we refuse to put our faith in Christ, there is no ‘Plan B’. By rejecting Christ we reject God and cannot see eternal life. If we will not allow Christ to pay the price for our sins, we must pay that price ourselves. If we set ourselves against God we choose to spend eternity where He is not. Since it is from God that all good things come, in His absence there is nothing good — and that is hell.

Calvin Miller put it this way:
“God, can you be merciful and send me off to hell and lock me in forever?”
“No, pilgrim, I will not send you there, but if you chose to go there, I could never lock you out”.
RJA

Republished by permission

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