If God is A Loving God, How Can He Still Judge
The World With Fire And Send Men to Hell?
Many have a tough time understanding how a loving God could ever judge men and send them to hell. If you've read the half verse which says, "God is love" you've probably come to the wrong conclusion about God. Hearing those words out of context, many just assume that that statement is an all-consuming definition of God, which it isn't.
So many reject God because they feel he is simply not loving (at least by their standards). The reality of course is that if someone judges God by their own standards and then rejects him because he doesn't measure up to what they feel he should be, then they are doing exactly what they accuse him of doing: being judgmental and unloving. To fully understand God you must understand more about his nature.
Ask most mothers, "are you a loving person?" Most will answer that they are. But if you also ask those same mothers if they believe in disciplining their sons and daughters, you would probably also hear a positive answer. We all have different sides of our personality and most of us express whatever side of our character that is necessary to address any given situation that we encounter.
It shouldn't be too difficult to understand that the same is true of God's nature. You see, God is loving but he is also just. So how can he be loving and just at the same time? God can be both at the same time, but that does not mean the one who feels his wrath will see him as a loving God at the same time.
The explanation I once heard that explains God's nature the best is that God's traits are can be placed in an orderly sequence or priority. By this I mean, you can understand his nature better by realizing what is his most elemental parts of his nature.
The Holiness of God
You may not have realized it but the Bible makes it clear that God's first and foremost trait is always his holiness. By God being holy it means that he is completely uncorrupted by evil. That's what God is. He might not always show his nature of love, any more than he will always show his judgment, but he will ALWAYS be and show his holiness in every action that he does. Because holiness is probably his most essential moral essence.
This is hard for us sinful humans to fully grasp. Holiness sets God apart from all living beings. There is absolutely no sin or evil in God at all. When God arrives, like when he appeared to Moses in the burning bush, the ground literally becomes holy just because God is present. The same is true when he appears in the Tabernacle or in the Temple. Sinners who came into his presence in the Old Testament would be burned up by the very essence of God's holy nature if they were not kept back.
This attribute is at the core of who and what God is and everything else flows out of this. Because he cannot be in the presence of evil (which is totally abhorrent to his holy nature), he is unable to compromise with evil.
The Justice of God
This is where God's justice comes in. God's holy nature must be protected and he does this with his trait of justice. As the Creator who spoke the world into existence, the moral rules of the universe are simply an expression of what and who he is. God's Kingdom and moral law was not set up as a democracy. We don't get to voice our corrupted opinions about what is supposed to be right or wrong, good or bad, righteous or evil. The moral code of the universe is simply what God is.
This is why God promises that he must and will destroy evil. Unfortunately, people assume that because God does not immediately wipe evil off the face of the earth he is "okay" with it. Nothing could be further from the truth. He hates sin and it is only because he is longsuffering that he waits before delivering his wrath. He wants men to have a chance to change their opinion about evil and turn from it to him. So he's giving us all more time. But his patience will certainly not go on forever.
God has clearly declared in his Word what evil is and also that those who practice evil will be judged. There is no way God can keep this from happening, because he would have to violate himself to do so.
If God winked at sin and felt that "boys will be boys" and "girls will be girls" so "I'll just give everyone a pass on this evil thing," he would be denying his very own nature. And that is simply impossible for him to do. So is why his attribute of justice protects his holy nature. It declares that sin will be punished, and there's nothing anyone can do about it on their own to skip out on what they deserve for their behavior.
But God is Also Merciful
Fortunately, God does have a merciful side to his nature. And he doesn't want to punish those that he has created. He doesn't want to send us to hell for eternity. (Hell really is being separated from God, who embodies all goodness). He created us to have fellowship with him and that's what he wants for us.
So God's mercy reached out and created a way out of this dilemma. In order to be able to extend mercy to mankind, God needed a remedy for wages of sin that would satisfy his own nature and still take care of the problem. His answer involved having a perfect substitutionary sacrifice that could absolve us of our guilt and judgment. So in God's mercy and love for the world he provided the remedy for all our sin.
God Does Love the World
In love, God sent his son down to earth to become a man. Jesus proclaimed what God was like in his earthly ministry. He healed and he loved and he also proclaimed God's standard of right and wrong by clarifying how no one keeps the Law of God (found in the Old Testament). He railed against injustice and those who had wicked hearts. He did not compromise on the truth, but in the end he offered himself up as a sacrifice for the sins of the world.
Jesus Christ's perfection, because he was God in human flesh, was sufficient to satisfy the Father's need for justice to protect his holy nature, but he was also able to offer God's love and mercy through his death so that whoever believes in him would not perish but would be able to have eternal life through him (John 3:16).
The Father showed why he is a God of love by what he did in sending his son to take our place on that cross. Jesus literally went to hell for all of us. He became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in him (2 Corinthians 5:20). God couldn't have shown his love for us any more fiercely than by sacrificing his own son in our place. While God hates sin, he loves us so much that he gave his son to save us from ourselves and from eternal judgment.
The Choice Is Yours
While God loves you and he went to such lengths judge his only son for our sin so that we don't have to be punished for it. But he will not force his salvation down your throat. You can certainly choose to reject him and go your own way. This is why the mercy of God is never a sure thing, because it can be rejected.
The bogus teaching of universalism gets the facts completely wrong. All people do not go to heaven just because Jesus died in our place. We must still respond to that love and mercy. If we do not respond correctly by agreeing with God that our sin is a stench in his nostrils, we will remain under the judgment of God.
When I was in college I often talked to college guys about their need for Christ, of course many would always reject the message of free salvation. One of the things I would often say to those guys was particularly revealing about their true spiritual condition.
I used to say, "You know in my experience people seem to be in three different kinds of situations when they reject the love and forgiveness of God. Of course, some have never heard the truth. I afraid think some are just plain stupid. But it seems a lot of people don't respond to Christ because they have some kind of moral problem they don't want to give up. Now I know you know the truth because I just told you, and in talking to you you're obviously not stupid, so I'm wondering what your problem is."
At that point many of the guys would just grin back at me. Kind of a "got me" sort of grin. We both knew that sex or alcohol or drugs were often the main reasons that college students didn't want to consider making a decision for Christ.
Today people have just as many excuses to continue sinning as they did back in my college days. But let me say, that the way the world is going right now, you will most likely be faced with incredible tragedy and trauma in your life as the world will soon just fall apart. I don't believe that most people living today will live long and happy lives.
I think that God is fulfilling some incredible prophetical signs and wonders right now to reveal to you that the end is right around the corner. You don't have much time left to escape the wrath that's coming down upon us all. If my theology is correct, you may get left behind when Christ suddenly appears in the sky and pulls all of the believers out of this world. And then you'll KNOW this is all true but you'll have to go through the tribulation in a very dark world.
Let me tell it to you straight. Don't be an idiot. Respond to the Lord while you still can. If you have even a little stirring in your heart that what you're hearing here might be true, take the time to look more deeply into the Lord's free offer of salvation.
To understand what repentance is all about I would recommend How to
Repent of Your Sins.
If you do not now feel a sense of
conviction click Coming Under
Conviction.. And finally, you might want to check out
How to Become A Christian.