How can a loving God send people to hell?
Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – June 9th, 2019
- This morning is the final installment in our 6-part series focused on the common objections to the Christian faith. The question we are addressing today is “How can a loving God send people to hell?” which has received a lot of attention in the minds of our modern society. Historical civilizations and societies understood that there was a transcendent moral order outside of ourselves, that if violated, there would be problems. The path of wisdom would be to learn to live in conformity with this absolute reality and learn to develop character qualities and morals that would line us up with this reality.
- In our modern western civilization and societies, we have come to the place of reversing this understanding so that instead of trying to shape our desires and actions to conform to a transcendent moral reality, we now seek to control and shape reality to fit our desires and actions. Truth is something that we decide instead of truth coming from outside of us, and this has caused all kinds of confusion, perversion and problems.
- The truth is that God and His standards, His thought and His wisdom is the rule of the day and the rule for all eternity and what He says will stand because of who He is. So, our task is to know and understand the wisdom of His ways and measure and line our lives up to Him. This way of thinking is offensive to many in our modern society; however, it is the unyielding truth. So, let’s consider a few things as we look to answer today’s question.
God is just
2 Thess 1:6a NIV
God is just:
- God is just, this is just one of the attributes of God (see full list – addendum below).
- So, what if God was not just? What if He forgave everything and everybody? What if God did not care or if there was no accounting for our lives? If this were true, then nothing would matter. It would not matter what we did or said or thought. It would not matter if we knew Christ or not. The death of Christ would not matter. Nothing would matter at all.
- However, the truth is that God is indeed just and because He is just there will be an accounting. And in that accounting, there will be reward and also loss. Because God is just- everything matters.
Rom 2:6-11 ESV
He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality.
- Scripture tells us over an over that there will be an accounting. And the accounting will be done by God who shows no partiality. People will get what they deserve, because God is just.
Gal 6:7-10 NIV
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
- Don’t be deceived . . . God cannot be mocked. Don’t think that it is all going to be okay – and if your good outweighs your bad it will be all good. The evil and sin in our lives still will need to be dealt with. No one is going to get around this because they don’t believe this. This is true regardless of what you believe – for all people everywhere.
2 Thess 1:6b-10 NIV
He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.
- This will happen just as He says, and it does not depend if you believe it or not because the truth of God is not dependent upon you, or anything. The truth is found in Him because He is the truth.
- And knowing this, we are to watch are lives and do good to all people everywhere. We are to leave the justice up to God. Because God is just there is more good in the world.
Rom 12:17-21 ESV
Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
- Knowing that God is just, and God will hold all people accountable will cause us to live in line with what He instructs us to do. If we repay evil for evil, we just get more evil. Continue to do good, continue to live peaceably, overcome evil with good. For to this you are called. However, the truth of the matter is that all deserve hell.
People deserve hell
Eph 2:1-3 ESV
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
- We are all by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. All of us deserve hell.
Rom 8:7-8 NIV
the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
- The sinful mind is hostile to God, it does not and can not submit to God’s law. If we are controlled by the sinful nature, we cannot please God. Don’t be surprised that sinful people sin. And sin gets progressively worse over time.
Rom 3:10-12 ESV
“None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
Rom 3:23 ESV
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
- This indeed is the bad news, and the news is very, very bad. Because God is just He must bring judgment on our sin. And because God is righteous, He in His righteousness must condemn sin.
- And here is the good news.
God’s love redeems us
Rom 3:23-25 ESV
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.
- We are made just by God’s grace to us as a gift. This grace was able to be extended to us because the justice of God was satisfied when God’s wrath toward sin was applied to Christ who took our sin on himself. We can be redeemed by placing our trust in Christ who took the wrath for us so that we can go free. God gives to us what He requires of us.
Eph 2:4-10 ESV
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
- God is just and God is rich in mercy because of the great love with which He loved us. God is both just and loves in equal measure all at the same time. It is by grace that we have been saved and in Christ we will be raised up with Him. This is why Christ is the central point, the turning point, both the beginning and end of our faith. Christ is the cornerstone and Christ is the capstone.
- And now because we are in Christ, we do the good works which God has prepared us to do. We are in Christ and therefore, we become like Christ in how we think, what we say, and what we do.
- Believe the truth that God is just, and because God is just and God is sovereign we all must give an account to Him.
- Believe in what God has done for us through Christ. Put your trust in this and place your faith in Him.
- Live in a way to represent Christ in the world. Live in Christ, live as Christ, to all people everywhere. Proclaim to the nation of what He has done!
Attributes of God Addendum
- God is a witness (Gen 31:50 NIV)
- God is near us whenever we pray to him (Deut 4:7 NIV)
- God is a consuming fire, a jealous God (Deut 4:24 NIV)
- God is a merciful God (Deut 4:31 NIV)
- God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands (Deut 7:9-10 NIV)
- God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing (Deut 10:17-19 NIV)
- God is God in heaven above and on the earth below (Josh 2:11 NIV)
- God is among you (Josh 3:10 NIV)
- God is with you (1 Sam 10:7 NIV)
- God is greater than all other gods (2 Chron 2:5 NIV)
- God is gracious and compassionate (2 Chron 30:9 NIV)
- God is greater than man. (Job 33:12 NIV)
- God is mighty (Job 36:5 NIV)
- God is exalted in his power (Job 36:22 NIV)
- God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses his wrath every day (Ps 7:11 NIV)
- God is present in the company of the righteous (Ps 14:5 NIV)
- God is my rock, in whom I take refuge (Ps 18:2 NIV)
- God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble (Ps 46:1 NIV)
- God is the King of all the earth (Ps 47:7 NIV)
- God is seated on his holy throne. God reigns over the nations (Ps 47:8 NIV)
- God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end (Ps 48:14 NIV)
- God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me (Ps 54:4 NIV)
- God is for me (Ps 56:9 NIV)
- God is our refuge (Ps 62:8 NIV)
- God is a God who saves (Ps 68:20 NIV)
- God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. (Ps 73:1 NIV)
- God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Ps 73:26 NIV)
- God is known (Ps 76:1 NIV)
- God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless (Ps 84:11 NIV)
- God is greatly feared; he is more awesome than all who surround him. 8 O Lord God Almighty, who is like you? You are mighty, O Lord, and your faithfulness surrounds you (Ps 89:7-8 NIV)
- God is holy (Ps 99:9 NIV)
- God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him (Ps 115:3 NIV)
- God is full of compassion (Ps 116:5 NIV)
- God is with us (Isa 8:10 NIV)
- God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid (Isa 12:2 NIV)
- God is with you, and there is no other; there is no other god (Isa 45:14 NIV)
- God is the salvation of Israel (Jer 3:23 NIV)
- God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries (Dan 2:47 NIV)
- God is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and sets over them anyone he wishes (Dan 5:21 NIV)
- God is merciful and forgiving (Dan 9:9 NIV)
- God is righteous in everything he does (Dan 9:14 NIV)
- God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing (Zeph 3:17 NIV)
- God is one and there is no other but him (Mark 12:32 NIV)
- God is truthful (John 3:33 NIV)
- God is for us (Rom 8:32 NIV)
- God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength (1 Cor 1:25 NIV)
- God is faithful (1 Cor 10:13 NIV)
- God is not a God of disorder but of peace (1 Cor 14:33 NIV)
- God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work (2 Cor 9:8 NIV)
- God is one (Gal 3:20 NIV)
- God is our witness (1 Thess 2:5 NIV)
- God is just (2Thess 1:6 NIV)
- God is the builder of everything (Heb 3:4 NIV)
- God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them (Heb 6:10 NIV)
- God is a consuming fire (Heb 12:29 NIV)
- God is light; in him there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5 NIV)
- God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything (1 John 3:20 NIV)
- God is love (1 John 4:8 NIV)