Devotional: October 24th
The subject of hell generates enormous resistance in the human heart. This resistance is most often expressed in the question, "How could a God of love sustain an everlasting hell?"
If Paul were answering the question he would probably say at the outset, "Who art thou that repliest against God?" or "Let God be true and every man a liar." Translation: the creature really has no right to question the Creator. If God sustains an everlasting hell, He has valid reasons for doing so. We have no right to question His love or His justice. Yet we are given sufficient information in the Bible to vindicate God in this matter.
First of all, we know that God did not make hell for man, but for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41).
We also know that it is not God's desire that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). If any man goes to hell, it is a great sorrow to the heart of the Lord.
It is man's sin that causes the problem. The holiness, righteousness and justice of God demand that sin be punished. The divine decree is, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:4). This is not arbitrary on God's part. It is the only attitude that a Holy Being can take toward sin.
God could have let the matter rest there. Man sinned, therefore he must die.
But God's love intervened. In order that man might not perish eternally, He went to the ultimate extreme to provide a way of salvation. He sent His unique Son to die as a Substitute for sinful men, paying the penalty for them. It was wonderful grace on the Savior's part to bear man's sins in His body on the cross.
Now God offers eternal life as a free gift to all who repent of their sins and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. He will not save men against their will. They must choose the way of life.
Frankly there is nothing else that God could have done. He has already done more than could be expected. If men refuse His free offer of mercy, there is no alternative. Hell is the deliberate choice of those who refuse heaven.
To charge God with blame for sustaining an everlasting hell is completely unjust. It overlooks the fact that He emptied heaven of its Best so that earth's worst might never know the agonies of the lake of fire.
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