Hell of a problem

People tend to have a problem with the doctrine of hell because of three main reasons. 

 

1. I’m not Adolf Hitler  

We think that sin is not serious or offensive enough to warrant an eternal, conscious, state of suffering.  However, the Bible teaches that sin is horrendous and hugely offensive to God.  God cannot look upon sin. God hates sin. Sin is treason against our Creator and Sustainer. 

We think that, if any, only Adolf Hitler’s sin is worthy of hell.  But who are we to decide what sin is serious and what sin is not?

Revelation 21:8, speaking of the return of Christ and the great day of reckoning, says “the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practise magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulphur. This is the second death.”  Hell is described in terms of fire and burning.  Whatever this might mean, hell will not be pleasant or good.  Yet, the Bible does not shy away for the truth about hell for is the fair, right, and deserved consequence of treasonous behaviour against God.  Sin is very serious.

 

2. He’s your Father, not your Old Man.

The second reason we tend to have a problem with hell is because we forget the holiness of God.  God is not your buddy or your boyfriend.  God is not to be trifled with or scorned.  God is our Creator and Judge. The angels shout around the throne, “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty, heaven and earth are full of his glory.” 

Yes, God is love and has revealed himself in Jesus; yes, we can now approach God with boldness and confidence because of Jesus’ sin-bearing death; but let us not forget the words in Hebrews 9,Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire’.”

 

3.  Make tea, not love

Again you ask, How can a loving God send people to hell?  God is indeed loving.  God the Father sent God the Son into the world to secure the eternal salvation of all God’s people.  No-one forced or compelled God to do that.  Out of love God chose to do it.  But don’t make the mistake in thinking that God is only love; he is also just.  God must punish sin appropriately or it would be an affront to his own justice.  Hell is the fitting and right consequence for those who reject Jesus.

 

May that God grant us all a renewed appreciation for his holiness and a renewed insight into the ugliness of sin.