Will a Loving God Send People to Hell?

Hell, Hades in the world

Every Saturday the Kansas City Star has a column entitled Voices of Faith. They pose a question and then ask two local religious leaders to address it. Often their answers consist of personal opinions, particular denominational doctrine, or concepts from pop culture.

Last Saturday’s question was “What’s the purpose of Hell?”

One of the respondents was Stephen Jones, the preacher for the First Baptist church of Kansas City. In part he wrote, “Recent terrorism in Paris speaks of hell on earth. Hell as a future reality isn’t a place. It’s a theological idea to hold us accountable.”

“As a child, I was taught that the “saved” would enjoy eternal life and the “lost” burn in hell,” Jones wrote. But “an adult, I don’t find those dichotomies helpful. The world doesn’t divide that easily.”

“I have a difficult time thinking of eternal punishment. I can’t imagine anything that would separate my children from my love forever.”

“So I find myself in that awkward place,” Jones admitted, “of believing in accountable love for the way we live our lives. And believing that there are better ways of considering that accountability beyond the theological construct of eternal damnation.”

What?

I’m not so sure I understand what all that means. So, here’s the Bible answer about Hell.

(1) God loves us.

The golden text of the Bible, John 3;16, affirms, “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..”

“God is love.” He is the epitome and essence of love. His love extends to the human race in both physical and spiritual ways. He cares about His creation. And loves us all unconditionally.

(2) God desires that we be saved.

He sent His Son to die for our sins. The Bible teaches that “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8).

(3) God doesn’t want us to be lost.

Because of what Jesus did for us, we don’t have to perish. We can be saved from our sins through the cleansing power of Jesus’ blood (Eph. 1:7). The apostle Peter wrote that God “is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Pet 3:9).

(4) Heaven is the eternal home of the saved.

Jesus promised a place where we could be with Him and enjoy eternal life (John 3:16; 14:1-3). The Bible calls that place Heaven (1 Pet 1:4). It is a place of unfading beauty, incomparable joy, and perpetual peace (Rev 21-22).

(5) Hell is the everlasting punishment for the unsaved

Jesus taught there is a place called Hell (Matt 5:22,29,30). He said it was a place of “everlasting punishment (Matt 22:46). He used the metaphor of fire to describe the pain inflicted by Hell (Mk. 9:46). It is a place where one is separated from God and all that is good.

The Bible teaches that when the world ends, Christ will come “in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thess 1:7-9).

“Will a Loving God send people to Hell?” is a question often asked. In a sense the answer is “No!” Because people send themselves by their rejection of God’s love, grace and mercy.

The eternal hope of Heaven is awaits those who will obey Christ. Sadly, the dire prospects of everlasting punishment in Hell is the end of those who refuse the invitation of Jesus. (Matt 11:28-30).

The decision is yours.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

10 Comments

Filed under Hell

10 responses to “Will a Loving God Send People to Hell?

  1. Larry Hafley

    Thanks for your “construct” of the truth on this point.  Larry    From: ThePreachersWord To: larryrayhafley@yahoo.com Sent: Tuesday, December 15, 2015 6:38 AM Subject: [New post] Will a Loving God Send People to Hell? #yiv7749974758 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv7749974758 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv7749974758 a.yiv7749974758primaryactionlink:link, #yiv7749974758 a.yiv7749974758primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv7749974758 a.yiv7749974758primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv7749974758 a.yiv7749974758primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv7749974758 WordPress.com | ThePreachersWord posted: “Every Saturday the Kansas City Star has a column entitled Voices of Faith. They pose a question and then ask two local religious leaders to address it. Often their answers consist of personal opinions, particular denominational doctrine, or concepts f” | |

    • Ray

      Jesus said: I am He that liveth, and was dead: and behold, I am alive for evermore, amen: and have the keys of hell and of death. {Revelation 1: 18}
      As stated in the article: “People end themselves to hell.”

  2. Ken,
    In one sense, God doesn’t “send” anyone to hell. They go there from their own choice in spite of the roadblocks God has put in the way to warn of the danger.
    If the highway department puts up a warning sign “Caution, Bridge Out” but I ignore it and drive on into the river and am drowned, I know of no one who would charge the Highway Department of wrongdoing.
    Thanks for your words,
    David

  3. sarahonpurpose2015

    I have heard that what Jesus is actually referring to in the original text is a garbage dump that is constantly smoldering outside of Jerusalem I believe. There the outcasts of society weep and suffer and gnash their teeth. Might be worth looking into on your search.

  4. True, there was such a garbage dump outside of Jerusalem in the valley of Hinnom. (Mk 9:43-46) Jesus uses this real place as a metaphor for how ugly and awful Hell is. Another time he uses the metaphor “furnace of Fire” (Matt 13:50). It is clear that the “hell fire” (Matt 5:22) of which Jesus spoke was “everlasting” (Matt 25:41). If you are interested in a more detailed answer, here is a post from a web page that provides more information. http://lavistachurchofchrist.org/LVanswers/2004/2004-06-21.htm

    Thanks for reading and taking the time to ask a really good question

  5. I was thinking the same thoughts as David. We are the ones that send ourselves to hell if we do not love and obey the Lord. Not God but me as an individual.

  6. Sherm

    Ken, thanks for working to be honest with Scripture. I would add what might help some deal with God Who “is love” and Who also created Hell – apparently primarily for the devil and his angels, by the way. The language of John 3:16 might be better rendered “In this way God loved the world: He gave…” What does the humanly-contrived phrase “loving God” mean, anyway? I believe it’s our hopeful attempt to limit God to only actions we consider to be “loving.” This same “loving God” speaks of the way He “loved” Jacob and “hated” Esau. What are these except God describing His treatment of these 2 nations? Anytime God says He “loves” or He “hates” He is describing His divine activity toward someone, not just an emotion. We humans say we love, but we’re inconsistant with that claim. God isn’t. He’s 100% consistent, so there is no gap between what He says and what He does. When He says He loves someone, it’s the same as Him treating that person “lovingly.” This is How God can also speak of Himself “despising” and “hating” individuals (yes, it’s in there. Look it up!). This also deconstructs the notion of “unconditional love.” Scripture just doesn’t use such terminology.

  7. Pingback: GREAT VERSES OF THE BIBLE: Mark 16:15-16 | ThePreachersWord

  8. Reblogged this on ThePreachersWord and commented:

    Today, we begin the countdown your top 10 posts for 2015 according to reader views. This post, just published last week, came in at #10. It generated lots of comments on facebook both pro and con. Here it is again. Tomorrow we’ll post #9.

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