How can a loving Jesus send people to hell?
This episode’s featured beer
Crane Brewing Farmhouse IPA
God is holy. This also means that Jesus is holy. John, the apostle, perhaps had the closest relationship to Jesus when he was on earth. But when John saw Jesus in Revelation he was knocked cold by Jesus’ holiness.
We ended last episode promising to explain how God’s holiness makes hell necessary. In Jesus we experience the love and mercy of God. If he’s loving, how can he send people to hell?
Eternity in hell feels extreme if it’s punishment for actions during our relatively short life on earth.
I’ve come to believe hell is God’s ultimate mercy on people who reject him. An eternity in the overwhelming power of God’s holiness would be far worse for those people than any torment in hell.
And the torment of hell may not be punishment. It is, perhaps, designed to keep hell from being worse than God intends. Human evil is restrained on earth by the presence of the Holy Spirit and the actions of God’s people praying for his will to be done. Imagine what would happen were those restraints removed.
God gives mercy to everyone. To us who are adopted into his kingdom he gives grace. Jesus took our sin and gave us his righteousness. Not only do we avoid hell. He declares us worthy of heaven. The full measure of his holiness will still be overwhelming and terrifying. But it will draw us rather than repel us.
Links we mention
Beyond the Cosmos by Hugh Ross
Flawless – Mercy Me
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