IF GOD LOVES PEOPLE WHY DOES HE SEND THEM TO HELL?
This question is a veiled charge against the fairness of God. You can answer this question by looking at three simple truths.
God’s will is to send no one to hell
Peter taught, "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" (2 Peter 3:9). God’s love is what caused Him to send Jesus to die for all mankind in order that no one would have to perish (John 3:16). Therefore, it is man’s decision to reject the salvation of God that determines his eternal destiny.
Who was hell prepared for?
Jesus made it very clear that hell wasn’t even created for man. It was created for the Devil and his angels. One day Jesus will clearly state this truth again to those who will perish. He will say, "Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41).
What is love?
Understanding and being able to explain what love is and what love does is essential to this question of punishment. Love is a perfect balance of mercy and justice. God loves both mercy and justice. "Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy" (Micah 7:18). "For the LORD loves justice, and does not forsake His saints; they are preserved forever, but the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off" (Ps. 37:28). "He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He" (Deut. 32:4).
God dispenses whatever is needed as He sees the heart of man in repentance or rebellion. If a judge did not dispense a just sentence of punishment against someone who was purposely and continually harming others, you would immediately consider this a lack of justice and as unloving and unfair to you. However, love also knows when to forgive and show mercy. Be assured that God knows what is just and fair. This is why He provided for our salvation and why there is a just punishment for man’s continual rebellion.
Another aspect of love is that love doesn’t ever force it’s will upon another. Love must always be given as a free choice or it could never be considered as true love. Would you want someone to be forced to marry you that despised you? No one would. When Jesus spoke of His love for the world He said, “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself" (John 10:17-18). The love of Christ was not forced or manipulated by anyone. Jesus chose to love and lay down His life for the world. Let me leave you with this question. Would it be love for God to force someone that has made a decision all their life to have nothing to do with Him, to then make them spend eternity with Him in heaven? That wouldn’t be love! God’s love allows every person in this world to make their own decision where they want to spend eternity. What will your decision be?
This study was written by Pastor Steve Carr. If we can be of any further assistance please contact us a www.calvaryag.org or (805) 481-2320.