Last week I wrote Vengeance: A Lesson From Captain America Civil War. In this post, I talked about how we should stop letting vengeance consume us and instead trust that justice will come. That justice is promised to us by God. We see this in Romans 12:19 which says, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Vengeance is the Lords and we need to trust in him and his perfect justice.
However, this may cause problems for some people. The problem for some is that God’s justice means that many people will go to hell. This seems to make God’s love and God’s justice be in conflict. “If God is love,” they might say, “then hell wouldn’t exist.” How is an eternal hell an example of a loving God?
Well as Greg Koukl states in his new book, The Story of Reality, people who ask this question are on to something. “Hell is not an example of God’s love. It is an example of his justice. His love is demonstrated by his free offer of pardon from hell, which many decline. But they will not be able to decline his justice.” It is important to be able to separate these two characteristics of God. God is completely loving and completely just. His love is made perfect through the death of Jesus on the cross by which all are offered a free pardon from hell. If we refuse the free offer of God, then we will face his justice. And as Greg says, “They will not be able to decline his justice.”
Finally, it is important to point out that God is not sending people to hell. Instead, people go to hell as a result of their sin. Without Christ’s forgiveness, we are guilty. It’s like being sick with a curable disease and refusing to see a doctor. When we die, we cannot blame the doctor for our death. We also don’t say that the doctor killed us. It was instead the disease that killed us, and it is our own fault for not accepting the doctors help and curing us. In the same way, we are guilty and have to go to God to be forgiven. Those that reject God’s help cannot blame him. It is a free gift that is offered to every person, yet many reject it. When we reject God’s love, then we will face his justice.