There seems to be a lot of debate these days concerning the love of God.
More specifically whether a loving God could/would ever send anyone to hell and whether or not God would be considered loving in the event that someone did in fact go to hell. Have you ever asked yourself this question? If God is love, how can he send someone to hell? I’ve certainly asked it – many people have.
To dig to the heart of the matter we must ask some thought provoking questions and also establish some facts and the only way to do this is through the word of God. Any teaching about God or His love that is built on any foundation but the word of God is automatically erroneous.
We need to work through our situation and establish some groundwork. Let’s begin with whether or not God even loves us.
1 John 4:8
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
We can certainly establish that God is love, as His word makes it perfectly clear. The Bible itself is actually a breathtaking love story.
We must also note that God does not simply have feelings of love towards us – but God is the very essence of love.
Love is defined by what and who God is – we should never attempt to define love according to what we believe it should be.
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
This verse from Romans establishes the second most important truth concerning this issue. ALL have sinned. Every single human on earth has a sin problem. What is sin?
Sin is rebellion. Sin is disobedience. Sin is corruption. Sin is rejection of truth. Sin is an immoral act or transgression committed against God – and we are all guilty of it – not only guilty of it, but born into it. The very first breath we take outside of the womb is in a body marred by sin.
This leads us into another attribute of God – holiness. The primary meaning of being holy is to be separate, distinct or set apart. God makes a distinction between righteousness and sin. God has chosen to be completely set apart from sin and won’t even tolerate it in his presence.
Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong.
“For the wages of sin is death”
The penalty for our sin is death. Spiritual and physical. We are born spiritually dead and separated from God – then a short time later we die physically.
To give a quick summary, God is love – God is holy – Penalty of sin is death – God created us – We sinned – We died spiritually – We are in danger of eternal separation from God after our physical death.
So now we’ve established our situation. God has made a distinction between righteousness and sin and we have chosen sin.
The punishment for sin does not rest in God’s love, but in His holiness – and this is where many people begin to go astray. It’s a common misconception that God LOVES to punish us, as if he takes joy in it. Not at all! God’s holiness requires complete separation from sin and His perfect justice requires punishment – it is in Gods love where we find His desire to rescue us! God does not want us to die, He does not want us to perish and He certainly does not want to be separated from us but due to our rebellion it is required. Gods love is found in that He rescued us from a self-inflicted death sentence. We chose to rebel, we chose to sin but God chose to rescue us!
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
His love for us, rescued us! His love for us wouldn’t allow Him to sit back and let sin drag us to hell. He did the one and only thing that could be done – died as a sinless substitute in our place and offered eternal life to anyone who would believe in Him.