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. II Peter 3:9 (NKJV)
God does not send people to Hell. Hell is where we are all automatically destined for. God created hell for the devil and his angels, but when Adam disobeyed God and ate of the fruit in the Garden of Eden, sin entered him and since then, all mankind is born with a sin nature. God is Holy and cannot accept sin. God gave us a free will. We make reservations for our stay in eternity by the choices we make on Earth. Jesus, God incarnate, donned human flesh, and came to earth on the ultimate rescue mission. He dwelt among us, took our place on the cross and paid the price, so we could be free from the penalty of sin- death, Hell and separation from God for eternity. God doesn’t send people to Hell; they choose to go there by refusing the escape provided.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23 (NKJV)
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 (NKJV)
Companies, organizations and the military have standards they expect their employees to adhere to, or they will be disciplined or dismissed from their positions. When I purchase something, a meal, a car, equipment- I have expectations of it. If it does not meet them I am probably going to say something and ask for the problem to be fixed, or return the item. Our country has laws to govern us, and if we choose to break them there is a penalty. Ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law. It is every citizen’s responsibility to know the law and line themselves up with it.
Parents have boundaries for their children because they love them and want to protect and guide them. There are consequences for children if they disobey their parents’ rules. So why are some people surprised or offended, and question God because He has standards for us to live by and for entry into Heaven? Mankind tries to dictate what God’s standards should be; they try to fashion God into a god, who will pander to their own selfish, sinful desires.
There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. Proverbs 14:12 (NKJV)
God is love and He is gracious, but He is also perfectly holy, righteous, and just, and he couldn’t be any of these without established holy standards. The maker of something knows the purpose of his creation, how it runs best and how to fix it when it’s broken. Jesus is God, (John 1:1-4). He is our creator, (John 1:10-12). He cannot lie. He warned of Hell, but made a way for us to know Him and make Heaven our home.
…so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! Matthew 13:36- 41 (NKJV)
The standard for entry into Heaven, if you are to earn your own way, is to be perfect- absolutely sinless and holy. The only one who qualifies as such is Jesus Christ.
As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; Romans 3:10 (NKJV)
So much for being a good person, or our good deeds outweighing our bad gaining us entry into Heaven. As the preacher said, “We are saved for good works, not by them.”
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV)
Our culture today is striving to redefine right and wrong, and success and failure, by declaring everyone a winner; everyone gets a trophy, no one fails. Even if they miss the mark, and if they do fail- they still get promoted.
Love tells the truth and equips for the future. We do others no favor by not allowing them to reap consequences for shoddy work or wrongdoing.
Making excuses for bad behavior and giving sin a new title doesn’t change reality- sin is still sin.
Love lets others see their failure and offers a helping hand so they can overcome their weaknesses, strengthen their skills and learn how to get back up and go the right way.
God loves us. He has standards. He offers everything we need to thrive on Earth and in eternity. We can’t redefine God and his standards to fit our whims. He is God, and He defines Himself.
God has done everything to provide us with a way out. It is up to us to accept it.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:17 (NKJV)
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3 (NKJV)
For those who choose Him, Jesus says, “I go to prepare a place for you.”
Suppose someone has a deadly disease and is terminally ill. The good news is there is one cure, but it is of no benefit to the stricken person if they do not receive it. It does not matter whether their reason for neglecting or rejecting the cure is them not believing it will work, wanting to try others’ methods or their own way, or it not being appealing or comfortable for them. Neither is their believing that it’s not their fault they contracted this disease from someone else an excuse for not taking the treatment. The fact that they inherited the disease does not make the disease any less deadly. They still need to seek and choose to receive the remedy for themselves before it is too late, or the disease will eventually have its way with them. For medicine to work effectively, the patient must also take the whole prescribed dose. Starting an antibiotic and not finishing the prescribed amount can result in relapse or the patient getting sicker than before. The visible effects and the progression of a terminal disease may be more pronounced in some than in others, but if untreated, the end result is the destruction of their body and eventually death.
Likewise, sin is an inherited disease of the soul and spirit-and it is terminal. Mankind inherited Adam’s sinful condition as a result of his disobedience in the Garden of Eden.
So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. Romans 5:18 (NASB)
Our sins, the wrong things we do, are symptoms of our sinful nature. The prognosis is decay of the individual from the inside out. For a time it may seem to affect some more than others. Our sinful nature quarantines us from God and Heaven. Left untreated, our sin will lead to our eternal separation from God and torment of our soul in Hell.
The Bible tells us Hell is a literal place of everlasting punishment, torment, and fire, and I believe it. Matthew 18:8-9
“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… Matthew 25:41 (NKJV)
But I don’t believe the torment in Hell is invoked by a little horn headed guy with a pitchfork prodding people. I believe elements of the torment in Hell include being eternally gripped by fear, with no peace and no escaping endless oppression from the spirits of condemnation, bitterness and hate. There is no hope in Hell; just darkness. It’s a place where the irrevocable fire of regret fuels an unquenchable thirst for everything Christ is, and offers to those who receive Him on this side of eternity. I believe the hardest thing to bear in Hell is the grief of realizing Jesus embodies everything, everyone ever wanted and needed, loving and desiring Him, but being eternally separated.
Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” John 8:24 (NKJV)
I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. Luke 13:3 (NKJV)
God provided the only antidote for our sin- forgiveness through repentance and the acceptance of the shed blood of Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross as atonement for our sins. Jesus- the perfect sacrifice or scapegoat.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (NKJV)
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. II Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6 (NKJV)
“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. John 3:18 (NKJV)
He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I John 5:12 (NKJV)
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12 (NKJV)
The ball is in your court. God loves you but he has given you a free will, and He will not violate it. What will you do with Jesus? Will you accept Him and His provision? Or will you reject Him and continue in pursuit of your own way? Will you give Jesus a chance to prove Himself, His love to you?
Questioning God’s love is indicative of not knowing Him as intimately as He wants you to. This is the greatest love story. God is love and when you truly know Him and His Word you won’t question His good intent for the beloved crown of His creation- us. Jesus isn’t just my fire escape- He’s my passion.
Love says, “Hey, you’re going the wrong way.”
Jesus says, “This is the way, walk in it.”
“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18 (NKJV)
Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ John 3:7 (NKJV)
if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 (NKJV)
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. John 5:24 (NASB)
But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” I Corinthians 2:9 (NKJV)
Resources for Further Study:
Can The Existence and Nature of Hell Be Defended? (Free Bible Insert)
What the Bible Does (and Doesn’t) Say About the Life (or Death) of the Soul
Link to posts about Hell- by J Warner Wallace author of Cold case Christianity
Link to posts about Heaven- by J Warner Wallace author of Cold case Christianity
© 2016 Rachael M Colby