In my blog yesterday I shared that I tend to interpret the Bible literally. As a result, on my radio program here in Gaylord, Michigan yesterday, I answered the controversial question, “Is hell real?” with an emphatic “YES!” But how can a loving God send people to such a horrible and eternal place of punishment? The truth is that in reality, few doctrines in the Bible reveal the love of God more than the teaching of a literal hell. How so?
Let me start with this question…"If hell is real, who do you think deserves to spend eternity in it?"
-Does Satan deserve to spend eternity in hell?
-Do the demons deserve to spend eternity in hell?
-Does someone like Adolph Hitler deserve hell?
-What about child molesters? Do they deserve hell?
Now let me ask you two more questions along the same line:
-Do I, Scott Distler, deserve eternity in hell?
-Do you deserve eternity in hell?
Again, if you are going to take the Bible literally, the answer to all of the questions above is “YES”! Yes, Satan deserves hell! Yes, the demons deserve hell! Yes, Adolph Hitler deserves hell! Yes, Child molesters deserve hell! Yes, I deserve hell! And, yes, you deserve hell too! Why? Because everyone on that list is a sinner. Everyone on that list, including you and including me, have sinned against a holy God (Romans 3:23). And according to the Bible, what we each deserve because of our sin is death – eternal separation from God (Romans 6:23). You see, sinning against an eternal God is deserving of eternal punishment. That is the fact – cut and dry!
This is where God’s love comes in! Even though we all, me included, deserve eternal separation from God and eternal punishment in the hell that was created for Satan and the demons, God loved us so much, He made a way of escape! Remember the most popular verse in the Bible?
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but will have eternal life!” (John 3:16)
God loved you and me so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus into this world to live a perfect life and die on the cross in our place. And while He was on the cross God put our sin on Jesus and God poured out His wrath on Jesus as a punishment for our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). As a result, everything that had to be done to appease the wrath of a holy God due to our sin was accomplished by Christ on that day when He died for you and for me, paying the penalty for our sin! Against the backdrop of the horror of a literal and eternal hell, we see the love of God.
You see, hell is real. And yes, you deserve to go there…you really do! But God loves you so much that He made a way for you to escape. He sent Jesus to die for you. If you will believe that and put your trust fully and solely in the death and resurrection of Jesus for your sins, you can have eternal life. That’s why God loved you enough to send His son to die for you, so that instead of perishing (spending eternity in a literal and eternal hell), you will have eternal of life (forgiveness of sin that brings about eternity in heaven).
Yes, hell is real! That does not contradict the love of God - it heightens it!