How Can a Loving God Send People to Hell?

1st, Fix the question – Most questions that confused or unbelieving people ask about Christianity are full of assumptions and erroneous statements. For example:
“Have you stopped beating your wife?” Whether you say yes or no you are an abusive husband! This question is made on the assumption that you are an abusive husband; if you are not how can you answer the question without first fixing the question?
“Did you like your sandwich?” also presumes that you ate a sandwich, what if you have not? How much more so must we fix a question before we ask it about something so deep and important as God’s character.


Who’s fault?

  • People only go to hell because they do not believe in Christ as Savior (remember belief means more than mental acknowledgment)
    • Jhn 3:36 – “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
    • Jhn 5:24 – “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.
    • Jhn 6:47 – “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.
    • Mat 25:41 – “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:
  • By having faith in Christ as your Savior your name is written in the book of life
    • Rev 3:5 – “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
    • By not believing in Christ you opt out of having your name in the book of life
  • Not being in covenant with Christ is what sends you to Hell
  • Individuals who purposefully ignore God express their desire to live without God. In hell your wish is perfectly granted.
  • Therefore: God does not send anyone to Hell, they send themselves. God is just obeying the spiritual laws that have existed since before time that darkness cannot dwell in the light, and that sin incurs wrath.
    • Laws like gravity, fire, and water can kill or injure you but when you know of the consequence of jumping off a cliff etc. who’s fault is it when you get hurt or die? Can you blame God for not breaking the laws He set up and holds you accountable by?
  • Sin cannot exist in God’s fullness in Heaven, it must be washed away.
    • Isa 59:2 – Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.
    • Rev 21:27 – But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
    • Rev 1:5 – and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,
  • “God doesn’t send his children to hell” correct, because His Children believe in and surrender to Christ.
    • You are only a child of God if you are born again by Christ, else you are still subject to sin and God’s wrath aka a child of Satan
    • Jhn 8:44 – “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
    • 1Jo 3:1 – Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
    • 1Jo 5:2 – By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.
    • He gave salvation for free at the cost of His Son
    • He warned and informed us of the consequences of sin & unbelief
    • He convicts us of sin by the Holy Spirit
    • He forgives us of sin and sees us as righteous via Christ’s righteousness

God has actually worked to keep us out of Hell!

  • The one thing God can’t do is control us against our will
    • We are accountable for our own actions and we can’t hold God responsible for them
    • Jam 1:13-14 – Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
    • 2Pet 3:9 – The Lord is … not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
    • If someone does not want to be with God in this life they will be totally separated from Him in the next.
    • “This life is a dress rehearsal for the next”.


A great resource on sin:
http://www.answering-islam.org/Nehls/Alkitab/alkit7.html

How Do You Know Christianity is Right?

This is part one of my new “Big Questions” series where I am addressing common questions and disagreements with the Christian faith in a simple and dialogue oriented way.

 

“How Do You Know Christianity Is Right?”

 

Uniqueness

  • It deals with the human condition of sin unlike all other religions.
  • World religions don’t acknowledge sin or imperfection.
  • Christianity provides not only an explanation for our problems, for evil, and for imperfection but it provides a solution – Jesus Christ.
  • Because of Jesus we don’t have to work our way to God.

1Jhn 1:10 – If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

Rom 3:24 – being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

Eph 1:7, Col 1:14, 20

  • God came to us (relationship) not us searching for Him (religion)
  • God came to Earth and was born as a human so that He could come to our level and redeem us from our limitations that held us back from our destiny.

Jhn 3:16 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.
Jhn 3:17 – For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Rom 5:8

  • Our Savior can relate to our temptations because he was tempted, he can relate to suffering and struggles because he endured them also

Hbr 4:15 – For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

  • God desires a personal relationship with us
  • Yahweh is not distant, impersonal, or absent.
  • He wants an intimate relationship with you similar to marriage.

Jhn 17:3 – “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

1Cr 2:12

 

Effectiveness

  • The God of the Bible works
  • If the God of the Bible were not real- miracles would not happen the way they do. When we say “In Jesus name get up and walk” and they walk it is evidence toward the God of the Bible.
  • When we obey the Word of God miracles happen, it works
    • It answers the questions
    • Purpose
    • Identity
    • Strength
  • It satisfies the soul
  • Christianity meets the psychological, emotional, and spiritual needs of mankind in a way that other lifestyles cannot imitate.
  • People have been set free from decades of drugs, addictions, sickness, and hurt because of Christianity. Other religions imitate this change.
    • It works for the good of mankind
    • Abolition of slavery
    • Equal rights – slavery doesn’t work when we’re all the same
    • Science – flourished under Isaac Newton, Galileo, Robert Boyle, Gregor Mendel, Kelvin, Planck,
    • Universities – Ivey League, Harvard, Oxford,
    • America

 

Exclusivity

  • The Bible does not allow for any other way to God or Heaven

Jhn 11:25 – Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.

Jhn 14:6 – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Act 4:12 – “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

  • Other religions don’t allow for other gods or paths to salvation
  • Hinduism says you must meditate and liberate yourself to Moksha
  • In Buddhism you perfect yourself until you reach Nirvana
  • With Islam you must serve Allah who the Quran says cannot have a son

Jhn 17:3 – “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

Lame Sacrifices

In the Old Testament sacrifices were given regularly for sins, these sacrifices mostly consisted of animals. But not just any animal, there were rules as to what kind and what condition the animal was to be in. If the animal did not meet the God’s requirements He would not accept it as a valid sacrifice, it was actually quite insulting to do so as you’ll read.

Leviticus 22:22 – ‘Those that are blind or broken or maimed, or have an ulcer or eczema or scabs, you shall not offer to the LORD, nor make an offering by fire of them on the altar to the LORD.

Deuteronomy 15:21 – “But if there is a defect in it, if it is lame or blind or has any serious defect, you shall not sacrifice it to the LORD your God.

However, we find during Malachi’s ministry some Israelites were offering just that – blind, sick, and lame. This is a terrible thing first of all they are disobeying the Law they claim to live by, second they are not sacrificing anything worth anything to the Lord, but being lazy and selfish, third they are unaware that they have offended the Lord.

Malachi 1
6 – “A son honors his father, And a servant his master. If then I am the Father, Where is My honor? And if I am a Master, Where is My reverence? Says the LORD of hosts To you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’

7 – “You offer defiled food on My altar, But say, ‘In what way have we defiled You?’ By saying, ‘The table of the LORD is contemptible.’
8 – And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, Is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, Is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?” Says the LORD of hosts.

“In what way have we despised Your name?” they ask as if completely unaware that they have done something that contradicts their covenant with God at the very core. Under the Old Covenant sacrifices were given as a sign of devotion to God and to pay for sins (Lev 4:35,5:10, Heb 9:22). Now that we live under grace, or the New Covenant, we don’t offer stuff or do things to be forgiven (Eph 1:7, Col1:14). If we did this (as some do) that would mean salvation is by works which clearly is not the case (Tts 3:5, Eph 2:9, Rom 10:10). However we do things and offer ourselves as a response to God’s great mercy displayed to us by the atoning death of Christ on the cross.

Rom 12:1 – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

You, the Sacrifice

So what are you giving? Romans 12:1 uses the imagery of the sacrifices made in the Old Testament but makes the clarification that now we are on the altar offered to God, not for forgiveness but in thanks. How much of yourself have you offered willingly to God?

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Being Eternity Minded

Things Above

Colossians 3:1 – If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.
Colossians 3:2 – Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

Being “Eternity minded” or “Kingdom minded” has been one of the biggest revelations for my life in Christ. It has helped me be conscious of the bigger picture of God’s plan and activity and because of this my actions have changed too.

It’s so important to take our eyes off of ourself and look around, but more importantly to look up. What is God saying about today? What is He seeing and feeling? What does He want to happen today?
It’s all too easy to get caught up by life and just focus on the temporary things around us, our bank account, our image, our stuff, our job security, or political problems. If we don’t watch it the concern of the world will slowly squeeze us dry and pry us apart from God, but only if we let it.

Mark 4:7 – “And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop.
Mark 4:14 – “The sower sows the word.
Mark 4:18 – “Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word,
Mark 4:19 – “and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

We Died

Colossians 3:3 – For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Colossians 3:5 – Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

Think of it this way: we were born in to our physical bodies on this planet, here we are primarily subject to our sinful tenancies. But what happens when someone dies? The body decays and comes to nothing while the spirit ascends to heaven. Similar to this picture we who have accepted Christ have died to our carnal self. So our sinful life died yet our spirit remains and is perfected by God and serves God. If we go back to sin we are bringing back from the grave that part that we left behind when we turned to Christ.

Romans 6:4 – Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Christians are not to live in a way that obeys their natural desires the moment they occur for we died to that part of our self. Now not all desires are bad of course but we need to check our motives before we act, and on the more questionable decisions go to God first instead of acting before thinking.

So when you are tempted to sin, remind yourself that “I have died to this thing, I don’t live for me anymore, I live for God”. That is being Kingdom minded because it puts your will in the backseat and God’s will in the drivers seat.

Phlippians 3:20 – For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Eternal Reality

Do you ever imagine what the eternal result will be of your decisions? It’s kind of a scary thought, especially if you’ve been making careless decisions without considering the long term effects. So think of your relationships – what effect will you have on their eternity? Will they be able to look back and say “you loved me and helped me get closer to God” or “You were nice but you didn’t really do anything, you never told me about God”?

These are weighty questions but important ones none the less. Thinking this way helps me keep my focus on what really matters – God and His Kingdom coming to Earth (Matthew 6:10). You only have one chance at this Earthly life, don’t waste it like the unfaithful servant did, but invest your time and reap a harvest that will last an eternity.