Preached @ Anchor Long Beach by Kris Cash on December 8th, 2013
How could a loving God send anyone to hell? If God really was a God of love why would anyone ever end up in hell? Have you ever wrestled with that question? Have you ever been asked that question by someone else? What is the answer? Could a God of love really send anyone to hell?
I think at its heart, this is a question of fairness. It’s easy to point to Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, or any other despot and say that’s why God sends people to hell. But the harder question is what about somebody like Mother Theresa? If she didn’t profess Christ, is she really going to end up in hell? After all the good she did and all the care she gave would it really be fair to send her to hell.
We look at this question through our grid of understanding and say it is unfair. A loving God could never be so unfair as to send Mother Theresa to hell. If she could end up in hell, we see God as unfair. And we view His standard of judgment as unfair.
What is a fair judgment? Is it impartial or partial? Is it subjective or objective? Have you ever been in front of somebody who had the authority to make a decision about your immediate future one way or another? Unless you are the most calloused sociopath, you’re nervous when you stand before a person with the authority to judge you.
Is judgment in those situations subjective or objective? My contention is that almost in every instance, with very few exceptions, it is almost always subjective judgment.
The next time someone complains that life isn’t fair, you can commiserate with them. It’s not! Every day we are constantly being judged in a variety of venues, according to subjective standards we have no control over.
So what about this loving God that sends people to hell? Does He do it subjectively, unfairly condemning people against a moving line in the sand that only He knows exists? Or is it an objective standard of judgment?
In the Bible, God uses over 700 names for Himself. Chew on that for a minute. 700 unique and distinct names. Each one of those names reveals something different about His character. One of the names that God uses for Himself is: Judge of the Whole Earth.
Each one of us is going to stand before Him at a time of judgment, and there is going to be a decision made by Him on our behalf. But what is that decision based on? When we stand before God, what are we going to be judged for?
From the Head
- Matthew 25:31-46
This parable speaks to believers and unbelievers. The first message we are going to look at this morning is the one Christ was preaching to believers. To those who know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, there is coming a day of judgment.
If you are truly a Christ follower, the way you treat those around you will show it. At judgment there will be many who will be cast aside, that claimed to be believers, but based upon the way they treated the people around themselves they will be proven to be unbelievers.
At the same time He was speaking to believers, this idea of Judgment means something else to those who had not accepted Him by faith. Inculcated into everything He spoke, there was the message of the Gospel. The Good News of Salvation which is to be found in Him.
Each and every one of us is separated from God because of sin in our life.
I don’t think we have to argue about sin. I don’t need the Bible to point to the presence of sin; and I don’t need to convince you of the fact that we will always have a desire to do things we shouldn’t do. If you have ever felt guilty, or felt a pang of conscience over something, you are acutely aware of the presence of sin in your life.
It is who we are…It is how we were created… And it is never going to change. And because of that we are separated from God. He cannot have a relationship with us because of the sin in our life, and we are separated from Him because of that sin.
When we come to a place of judgment before Him, the parameters of His judgment are quite simple. It is not about how many good things you did… You can never do enough to overcome who you are at the core.
It is not about how much money you gave away or how nice you were or anything else. For those who are cast aside, the only thing they are judged on; is did they accept the sacrifice Jesus Christ made on their behalf?
To The Heart
It’s a straightforward proposition. God’s objective standard of judgment, the difference between heaven and hell is only about belief or unbelief. An objective standard of judgment.
How could a loving God send anyone to hell? He doesn’t. Their unbelief does. A loving God gave the most precious thing He had, in order to objectively show you how much He cares. A loving God makes a simple proposition. Believe and we are OK. Don’t believe and we are not.
If everyone gets a pass to Heaven, then what Christ did was a waste. He either dies to save us, or it was in vain.