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Quick Answers: Is it fair that God sends people to Hell?



One of the most difficult doctrines for both Christians and non-Christians to grapple with sometimes is the doctrine of Hell.


Many people wonder if the doctrine of Hell is just, if God is just to condemn sinners to Hell. Many people make the objection that the punishment doesn't fit the crime, that Hell is too extreme of a punishment for the sins of man. Other people will argue that since God is love, he would never send people to Hell.


But there is this question that remains: "is God just to send people to Hell?" because Hell is a biblical concept. Jesus, in Matthew 18, says that those who don't repent of their sin, in effect, will be cast into the Hell of eternal fire. Jesus is not speaking metaphorically there; Hell is a real place.


But is God just to send people to Hell? Well, there are some important things we need to remember.


One, we need to remember that God is actually the one that establishes justice. Isaiah 40:14 says, "Who taught the Lord the path of justice?" He's actually the one that gets to define what is just, not us.


The second thing we need to remember is that the greatness of a person sinned against increases the greatness of the punishment required. For example, if I go to a country which is ruled by a king and I go into a restaurant and I accidentally spill my drink all over another patron, just a normal man, it's embarrassing, it's awkward, he might be upset with me, and perhaps I need to buy him a new pair of pants or what have you and then we move on. But I'm not going to go to jail for that. However, if at the same restaurant, the king of the country is there and I carelessly spill my drink all over him, I'm going to be facing a much more serious consequence because of the greatness of the one I've offended. God is an infinitely holy and infinitely good God. Our sin is not something so small or silly as spilling a glass of wine on somebody. Our sin is rebellion against an infinitely holy God. Because God is so great, the punishment required for sinning against him must be equally great. That is why it is, in fact, just for God, the very standard of justice, to send sinners to Hell. But Hell also magnifies God's mercy in Christ because God is not obligated to save anybody. He'd be just to condemn all people to Hell. But he's merciful, compassionate, and gracious. He provides a Savior that his people would be saved from that punishment, that their sins would be forgiven, that instead of eternal death and suffering they will receive eternal life. So, the doctrine of Hell is not something to avoid, not something to ignore, but something that magnifies both God's justice and mercy to us in Christ.


 

Daniel Ruben (MDiv, Midwestern Baptist) is a pastor at Fellowship Bible Church in Carson City, NV. He is husband to Shaelby and father of two.

 

Note: The views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of other contributors on this site.

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