Would a Loving God Send People to Hell?
Could A loving God take people to Heaven?
In a world full of statistics, here is the
ultimate statistic: one out of every one dies. Then What?
God had a problem. Well, not exactly. The great God is too powerful and
wise to have problems; He only solves them. But it appears to us that He
had a problem in figuring out a plan of salvation for mankind.
What is the problem? Actually it arises from a seeming clash between two
of the great attributes of God-His love and His righteousness. On the
one hand, God is a God of love. He loves people passionately. They are
His crowning work. Among all the marvels of creation, He is delighted in
a special way with humanity. He wants the companionship of every man,
woman, boy, and girl for all eternity.
But the problem arises from the fact that we all are sinners and God is
righteous. He canít look on sin with approval. He canít wink at sin,
overlook it or condone it. Sin must be punished and the wages of sin is
death. If sinners are ever going to be at home with God in heaven, their
sins must somehow be put away. No unforgiven sinner can ever enter
Now how can God devise a plan of salvation that satisfies His love and
yet does not compromise His righteousness ? How can He be a just God and
a Saviour at the same time? How can He be a righteous God and pardon
ungodly sinners? Thatís the dilemma. The famous Greek philosopher,
Socrates, once said to Plato, then his pupil, "It may be that God can
forgive sins, but I cannot set how."
Seven requirements for any plan of salvation:
It was an act of indescribable grace when God decided to rescue fallen
mankind. But once He made that decision, He had to devise a plan that
would satisfy His love and His holiness. Since He loves everyone, His
salvation must be:
# Offered to all. He doesn't want any left out.
# Sufficient for all. It must meet the needs of every person without
# Something for which everyone is eligible.
# No amount of evil should be able to bar anyone from participation.
# Simple enough for anyone to understand-n0 use making an
# Something which anyone ca receive. The true religion must not have any
conditions that some couldn't meet.
#There must be no possibility for human boasting. Pride is the parent
sin, and there will be no pride in heaven. everyone must have the same
fitness for heaven.
# Yet the plan must be one which God does not force on a person against
The only answer? Finding the right substitute.
There is only one conceivable solution to the
dilemma. A suitable substitute must somehow be found to pay the penalty
of the sins of the people. Most of us are familiar with the idea of
substitution. In some athletic events, the coach sends someone onto the
field as a substitute for another player. The average Hebrew believer in
Old Testament times understood substitution. When he brought an animal
to the altar of sacrifice and laid his hand on the animalís head, he
pictured the transfer of his sins to a substitute that would die in his
place But even here there are conditions to be met by a substitute that
would fully and finally solve our need and meet Godís requirements:
# The substitute must be human. Otherwise the exchange would not be fair
# He must be a sinless person. Otherwise he would have to die for his
# He must be God. Only an infinite person could atone for the numberless
sins of the human race. The value of the substitute must be great enough
to cover all the sins of humanity-past, present, and future.
# He must shed his blood, because divine law has decreed that without
the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin. Life is in the
blood and there must be life for life.
# He must be willing, or Satan could charge God with unjustly forcing an
involuntary victim to die in the place of ungodly sinners.
Jesus of Nazareth qualifies on all counts.
The only person in the universe who meets these
conditions is Jesus Christ.
He became Man at Bethlehem. Born of the Virgin Mary, He is perfect Man
(1 Timothy 2:5).As the great Christian hymn writer, Charles Wesley, put
it, "Our God contracted to a span, incomprehensibly made Man." ?? He is
God (John 1:l). He has the attributes of God, the titles of God, and is
equal with God the Father.
He is without sin; the record cannot be denied. He knew no sin, He did
no sin, and there is no sin in Him (2 Corinthians 5:23; 1 Peter 2:22; 1
John 3:5). ?? He shed His blood as a substitute for sinners on the Cross
of Calvary. Multitudes have availed themselves of the blood of Jesus
Christ, Godís Son, that cleanses from all sin (1 John 1:7).
He did it willingly so that sinners could be saved. There was no
reluctance. On the contrary, there was a joyful submission to the will
of God (Psalm 40:8; Hebrews 12:2). The truth of Christ as our Substitute
is found throughout the Bible. Isaiah boldly proclaimed, "He was wounded
for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the
chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are
healed...and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah
53:5-b). ĎThe Apostle Paul said, "The Son of God...loved me and gave
Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). Peter added: "[He] bore our sins in
His own body on the tree" (1 Peter 2:24).
And the terms of this amazing arrangement?
Since the Lord Jesus perfectly meets all the requirements for a
substitutionary sacrifice, God can now proclaim His marvelous way of
salvation, the good news of His grace. He can offer salvation as a gift
to all who repent of their sins and receive His Son as Lord and Saviour
by a definite act of faith.
Notice that this salvation is available to all. "Whoever believes on Him
should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:lh). If it depended on
money, the poor would miss out.
It is sufficient for all (1 John 2:2). The death of this infinite
Saviour has power to atone for all the sins of the world. It is
Everyone is eligible for it because everyone is a sinner (Romans 3:23).
Itís his very unfitness that qualifies anyone for Godís salvation. Itís
a good thing that the gift of eternal life is not just for the
intellectual, the wealthy, or the famous. Some of us would never
qualify. Even if it were only for those who could read, walk, talk, or
see, some would be excluded. Only the gospel suits the whole world.
It is simple enough for anyone to understand. No one is too primitive or
illiterates The Lord Jesus says, "Come." Nothing complicated about that!
As William Cowper put it, "O! how unlike the complex works of man,
heavenís easy, artless, unencumbered plan!"
Anyone can receive it (Revelation 22:17). Salvation is by repentance;
anyone can do that It is by faith; anyone can believe in the Lord Jesus
Christ. No one is more credible than He, and nothing is more reasonable
than for the creature to trust His Creator.
Grace excludes boasting. It says, "I did all the sinning. Christ did all
the saving. I claim His merits, and not my own. I have no right to enter
heaven because of what I am or what I have done. Christ alone is my
Man is not coerced into accepting Godís salvation (John 3:36). The
Creator made him a free moral agent. Strange as it may seem not everyone
wants to be saved. God doesnít force heaven on anyone. He will not take
anyone to heaven against his or her will. You can be certain that any
religion that grows by coercion, violence, and cruelty is not the true
So God's way of salvation is the perfect way.
This offer from heaven meets all the terms necessary to satisfy Godís
requirements and at the same time can be made available to all humanity.
Christís work on the Cross enabled God to fully exercise His love
without compromising His justice. The Psalmist says it poetically:
"Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed
each other" Psalm (85: 10). Given the character of God that it is the
only possible way of salvation.
Charles Spurgeon asks: "Who would have thought of the just Ruler dying
for the unjust rebel? This is no teaching of human mythology, or dream
of poetic imagination. This method of expiation is only known among men
because it is a fact. Fiction could not have devised it. God Himself
ordained it. It is not a matter which could have been imagined."
Perhaps the clearest verses in the Bible on the subject of salvation by
grace apart from works are Romans 4:4-5, "Now to him who works, the
wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work
but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted
for righteousness." Shocking as it may seem, God saves those who do Hot
work, that is, who do not try to earn or deserve salvation but receive
it as a free gift. And it is only ungodly people whom He saves Not good
people, not people who do their best, but people who are willing to
admit that they are ungodly. In other words, people who repents
Pay attention to that word "believe." That is the crucial one. To
believe means to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. It means to
accept Him as the One who paid the penalty of oneís sins; it means to
depend on Him as the only hope for heaven. When a person believes in
Him, he is saved". And he can know it, not by his feelings, but by the
infallible Word of God (Jn. 1:12; 3:15-16; 5:24; Rom. l0,9; Eph. 2:8; 1
Jn. 5:10-13). William MacDonald
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