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CAN HELL BE EVIDENCE OF GOD’S LOVE?

By Jeffrey Hagan

by Rev. Jeff Hagan, DCE, DMin, (ThD)

Hell is a subject that many people are afraid to approach for a variety of reasons. Some people are nervous or afraid to even think about that kind of suffering. Others are worried about what people might think of us if we speak honestly about hell and who the Bible states is going there. Even beyond squirmishly avoiding the doctrine of hell, there are many who outright deny it all together.

One of the main objections regarding the concept of hell is that it, in the minds of many, is diametrically opposed to real love, to God’s pure love in particular. The argument is often presented by asking a question, “How can a loving God send people to hell?” The underlying premise is simple: If God is loving then hell cannot actually exist. Simply, they believe hell is not compatible with love. It is for this reason that I would like to present something for you to think about. Is it possible that, instead of hell being something that lessens, degrades, or is in opposition to God’s love, that it actually provides evidence of it? Is it possible that hell reveals the love of God?

I believe, when properly understood, it does display the love of God. Popular author, preacher, and theologian, Tim Keller explains it far better than I could:

“Fairly often I meet people who say, “I have a personal relationship with a loving God, and yet I don’t believe in Jesus Christ at all.” Why, I ask? “My God is too loving to pour out infinite suffering on anyone for sin.” But this shows a deep misunderstanding of both God and the cross. On the cross, God HIMSELF, incarnated as Jesus, took the punishment. He didn’t visit it on a third party, however willing.

“So the question becomes: what did it cost your kind of god to love us and embrace us? What did he endure in order to receive us? Where did this god agonize, cry out, and where were his nails and thorns? The only answer is: “I don’t think that was necessary.” But then ironically, in our effort to make God more loving, we have made him less loving. His love, in the end, needed to take no action. It was sentimentality, not love at all. The worship of a god like this will be at most impersonal, cognitive, and ethical. There will be no joyful self-abandonment, no humble boldness, no constant sense of wonder. We could not sing to him, “love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.” Only through the cross could our separation from God be removed, and we will spend all eternity loving and praising God for what he has done (Rev 5:9-14.)

And if Jesus did not experience hell itself for us, then we ourselves are devalued. In Isaiah, we are told, “The results of his suffering he shall see, and shall be satisfied” (Isaiah 53:11). This is a stupendous thought. Jesus suffered infinitely more than any human soul in eternal hell, yet he looks at us and says, “It was worth it.” What could make us feel more loved and valued than that? The Savior presented in the gospel waded through hell itself rather than lose us, and no other savior ever depicted has loved us at such a cost. (Keller, Tim. “The Importance of Hell”).

The greater and more horrific hell is to us, the greater and more incredible the love of God through Christ becomes to us. Knowing the severity of our sin, and the horror of the punishment we deserve, should cause us to be filled with awe at the love of the One who paid our debt in full. So, as we can see, hell can and does reveal evidence of the vastness of God’s love.

Rev. Jeff Hagan, DCE, DMin, (ThD)

Founder and President of True Grace Ministries and Theological Institute. http://www.truegraceinstitute.webs.com

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.comCHRISTIAN WRITER

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