|"Rodin's Gates of Hell"|
Photo Credit: Christian Ortiz
Flickr Creative Commons
There are a lot of people today who seem to stuggle with the concept of Hell. They seem to feel it inconsistent with the nature of a loving God to send anyone to Hell. I confess that I have sometimes even wondered that myself.
However, while it is most certainly true that God is a God of love, and He does desire that none shall perish, it is also true that He gave mankind a free will. If we believe that God gave us the free will to choose, does that choice essentially include a choice for Hell by our rejection of His gift of salvation through Jesus Christ?
Everything God has for you and me He has given us in Jesus. Like all gifts, though offered, they must still be received. I can offer to give you a suitcase full of treasures, but until you actually take it from my hands and receive it, it remains only an offer that you do not yet possess. Salvation is like that. The offer is there in Jesus. But Jesus Himself said, "No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). The offer is there, and it is free, but it must be personally received to take effect and to be of value to you and me.
If that is true, the question then becomes, what happens to those who reject God's offer through Jesus? Does God, because of His love, finally say, "Oh, that's OK. You rejected my Son, but I will let you into my Heaven anyway?" No. Again, look back to John 14:6. Jesus is the way, the only way. Reject Him, and by default, you essentially choose Hell.
Does God send people to Hell? While He doesn't want to, He has given us the choice. Yes, the Bible says that one day "every knee will bow" (Isaiah 45:23; Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:10), but personally I think it would be a mistake to assume that all who bow the knee will be saved. Even demons bow the knee in obedience to Jesus, but they're not saved either.
Rejecting Jesus is a personal choice just as much as accepting Him is a personal choice. In this case, there is no middle ground. Our vote must be either a "Yea" or a "Nay," either for or against Jesus. Therefore, by default, a "Yea" vote also equals a vote for Heaven, whereas a "Nay" vote equals a vote for Hell.
|Photo Credit: Eric Schmuttenmaer|
Flickr Creative Commons
Does God send people to Hell? I suspect that C.S. Lewis is right in this regard, "All that are in Hell, choose it."