TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20 ESV)
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• We are asking hard questions this week — questions that both believers and non-believers ask. We’re on Day 3 of a 14-day series, and today’s question — “Why does a loving God send people to hell?”
The simple answer: He doesn’t. Because God is loving, He respects people’s right to choose.
I know that doesn’t sit well with many. To say it’s our choice shifts the issue of accountability from the almighty God of the universe to the individual. But that is the reality. Hell isn’t what God wants for anyone. It says in 1 Timothy 2:3-4, “This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” It’s reiterated in 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
Part of the issue is our definition of “loving.” “Loving” is not synonymous with “agreeable” or “non-confrontational.” We’ve got to stop trying to make them one and the same. After all, is it loving for a parent to NEVER hold their child responsible for their choices? No, we teach them and leave it up to them to make the right decisions for their lives. And just as importantly, we love them enough to let them deal with the consequences—both the good and the bad. We also have to watch ourselves that we don’t sit in judgment of God. 1 John 4:16 tells us that God IS love. Not that He loves us a lot or He has a loving nature. But that He IS the very definition of love. As created beings, we have no authority to sit in judgment of God’s love.
We also have to realize we’re using the wrong verb. The word “send” is a harsh accusation against Someone who has GIVEN us free will (which will be the last topic in this series!) and expects us to have personal responsibility. To imply that we are “sent” makes us the victims when that’s an absolutely false statement. If you believe in Jesus as the Savior of the world, you agree that He was the willing victim on our behalf! We can’t embrace the role of victim when we haven’t died for anyone’s sins—and certainly, none of us are qualified to do so! He opened the door for us to have the choice and we are the ones who accept His free gift of salvation… or reject it.
And as sinners, we all need this gift because sin requires restitution. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The payment is sitting on the table, waiting for anyone who wants it to claim it. And God, in His love and out of respect for our free will, gives us the choice. Let Jesus’s gift cover the penalty fees… Or pay the penalty ourselves. The Bible says we are without excuse. We are all responsible for making this choice. As the Bible says, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).
So why does a loving God send people to hell? The better question is “Why do people choose it?”
Today, as you pray, thank God for being love and thank Jesus for paying our sin debts. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand the gift of choice for what it is… a gift designed to give you freedom because of His love for you. And if you haven’t accepted Christ’s gift, ask for forgiveness, and thank Him for paying your sin-debt.
SHARING ••• Please share with others! Visit www.MyGraceFullLife.com to read past blogs. ***Unless noted otherwise, all Scripture references are from the ESV translation.