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Why would a loving God send people to Hell?




Faith FAQ: Biblical responses to tough questions  

Recap: Is the Bible True and Reliable?  


I Peter 3

15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,


Introduction:  

Is Hell real, and is it God who sends people there?  

  

I. Is Hell real, and what does the Bible have to say about it?  

  

A. Hell is real. 

  Definition: Hell is a place of eternal conscious punishment for the wicked. 

   

Revelation 20:15  

15 And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of  fire. 

  

B. Hell was created for Satan. 


Matthew 25

41 Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the  eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 


1. Satan’s rebellion against God led to his separation from God.  


2. Satan and other rebellious angels were sent to Hell. 

2 Peter 2

4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; 


3. Our unaddressed, unconfessed rebellion against God will lead to our eternal separation  from God. 


C. Jesus’ Teaching on Hell 


1. Jesus declared to the religious hypocrites You snakes, how will you escape from  being condemned to hell? Matthew 23:33 

2. Jesus said those rejected as subjects of the Kingdom will be thrown outside into  darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

3. Mark 9:43 Jesus stresses that it is better to cut off your hand if it is causing you to  send for it is better for you to cut off, then enter hell with two hands where the fire  never goes out. 

4. Hell is a place where the worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched  (Matthew 25:46). 

5. Paul in 2 Thessalonians 1:9 states that those who do not obey the gospel will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of God. 


II. Is it God who sends people to Hell?


A better question would be, why is God put in the spotlight as the bad person in this scenario? 


Guilty Person and Judge

• Who sent the person to jail—the criminal or the judge? 

• The guilty person must atone for his actions. 

• The judge positionally carries out justice. 


A. God is love, but he is also a righteous judge. 

It is a loving thing to be a righteous judge.


1. If we stand before God as the judge and we are guilty, the guilty party suffers the  consequences. 

2. If we have been saved and accepted the gospel, then we are seen as righteous and  innocent and can enter heaven. 


B. We tend to question God's justice when: 

1. The judgment seems offensive. 

a. Many can become offended by the notion of judgment, but only when the judgment is  personal. 

b. We would be outraged if justice was not brought against harsh offenders. God created this world to display his own glory and goodness, should he not hate all that would destroy that creation? 

c. In love, God gives value to our choices; He has given us free will as we are made in His  image. 



2. The verdict seems unfair. 

a. Aunt Betty – nice person, pays taxes, bakes cookies, spends time with grandkids,  feeds the stray cats, and passes out candy to neighborhood kids. 


Aunt Betty is just not into the God thing. Aunt Betty is great; she is just not into the God thing.  So, does she deserve to go to hell? 


God revealed himself to Aunt Betty a number of times and in various ways.

  • Easter and  Christmas Stories

  • Experiencing the awe of God’s creation

  • The whisper of her own conscience

  • The flier she read.

  • Each time she turned away from God, asking her to acknowledge, thank, and worship him. 


Aunt Betty said no to God each time by saying I will rule my own life. 


She would be condemned on judgment day for rejecting God and wanting to be her own God. 


b. “Sin is a human being saying throughout his life, “Go away and leave me alone.”  Hell is God’s answer, “You may have your wish.” - C.S. Lewis

c. People may not start out saying, I choose hell, but they choose the path to get  there. (Matthew 7)  


3. The punishment seems excessive.  

a. One may now be convinced that the verdict may be fair, but is the punishment? 

b. Why do we think we are qualified to answer this question? 


Isaiah 55

8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,  so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  

  

c. Hell is not full of people with humble and repentant hearts who long to worship  God in heaven: sinners hardened hearts will become harder still 


Revelation 16

10 The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in anguish 11 and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds.


  

d. We should have a healthy reverence for God. 

Matthew 10

28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can  destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of  them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  

  

III. We need to approach questions like these with the centrality of God.    

a. Human centered perspective  

- Only good things should happen to us.  

  

b. God centered perspective.  

1. All things come from him, exist by his power, and are intended for His glory.  

2. We are unworthy. Psalms say, “We go away from the womb wicked.”

3. Hell is not the horrible thing that God does to good people, but the rightful state of everyone who has been born because from birth they have been rebellious.  

  

IV. Hell does not have to be where anyone goes.  

  

a. God would prefer none to go to hell.  

  

2 Peter 3

9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient  toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 

  

Luke 19

10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.  

B. There is no excuse.

 

Romans 1

20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine  nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things  that have been made. So, they are without excuse.


God, in his love, provided a way to salvation.  

You have a choice.

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