Faith is basically believing that God still loves us. He does not love our sin. He does not want us to continue in our sin. He is like a father who sees his child’s diseases and hates those diseases, but loves his child. Think of a mother who sees her child full of leprosy or tuberculosis. That mother loves her child so much, but hates those diseases with all her heart.
God loves sinners but He hates their sin. We see God’s love for sinners and His hatred of sin on Calvary’s cross. His love for sinners is seen in that He allowed Jesus to die on the cross for us. His hatred of sin is seen in His turning His face away from Jesus when Jesus bore the sin of the world on the cross.
People sometimes ask how a God of love can send people to Hell. What is Hell like? Hell is a place that God has forsaken completely – a place where God cannot be found. This earth has not been forsaken by God. That’s why there’s still so much of goodness and beauty on this earth.
Look at the beauty of creation, for example. Look at the decency and goodness there is in many human beings. Demons would like to possess ALL human beings, but they are unable to, because God has put a restraining wall around people, so that demons cannot do what they like. It is God’s mercy also that gives man health, prosperity and many other comforts. All these blessings are bestowed by God on both good and evil people. All this proves that God has not forsaken this world. But Hell is not like that. In Hell there is no mercy at all – because Hell is a truly God-forsaken place.
There is goodness in many unconverted people in this world, because the influences of God are still over them. But once they go to Hell, those very same people will become as evil as the devil himself – because the mercy of God will no longer be over their lives.
In Hell, people will experience for the first time what it is like to be totally forsaken by God. That was what Jesus experienced on the cross. Jesus experienced Hell on the cross for those three hours of darkness, when God actually forsook Him. There we see how much God hates sin.
So what is the answer? Can a God of love send people to Hell? The answer to that lies in the answer to this other question: Could a God of love allow His own Son to face Hell on the cross, when the sin of the world was upon Him? If He could do that, He can send people to Hell too. A God of love will turn His face away from those who continue in sin, who say to God, “I am not going to listen to you. I have chosen my own way and I will continue along it forever.”
The Bible says in Proverbs 29:1 (paraphrased) “A man who is corrected many times and refuses to accept correction will one day suddenly be destroyed and he will not have another chance”. If a man keeps on refusing God’s loving invitations, he is in real danger. Now I don’t want any of you over-sensitive brothers and sisters to feel condemned hearing that – because that verse was not written for those who fall into sin, but to warn those who love to sin and who want to continue in it. It was not written for those who try to live in purity but keep falling. It was written for rebels, who defy God and want to keep on sinning. How can you know whether you are a rebel? That’s very easy to find out. Just ask yourself whether you have a desire to repent and to turn back to God? If there’s even the slightest desire within you to turn to God and to love Him, then that proves that the Holy Spirit is still working in your life and that God is seeking to draw you to Himself. You may be a failure, but you are not a rebel. There is a vast difference between one who is failing and one who is rebelling.
Originally published by Zac Poonen