“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:16-18)
God does not want anyone to go to hell.
“‘As surely as I live,’ declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live.” (Ezekiel 33:11)
“He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
In fact, God loves us so much that he was willing to endure mocking, rejection, torture and one of the most excruciating deaths possible in order to save us from hell.
Hell is the just penalty we reap for sinning against God (Romans 6:23, Revelation 20:12-14).
God is perfectly good, perfectly holy and perfectly just; there is no evil in him.
Injustice, however, is evil. Not punishing sin would be injustice, and that would be evil. Justice is an expression of God’s perfectly holy and sinless character.
Sending someone to hell, therefore, is an act of God’s justice (Romans 6:23)–not an act based upon a lack of love–for the Scriptures say, “God is love” (1 John 4;16). God has objectively demonstrated this love for us when he died on the cross in order to provide the way to save us from hell! While God’s perfect holiness and justice demand that our sins must be punished, it is his great love for us that moved him to provide the way for our redemption and eternal salvation.
This is how serious our sin is to God.
In the Bible, hell is described as “…the second death” (Revelation 20:14). Because God is life (John 14:6) and the giver of life (Acts 17:25), final, eternal alienation from God is eternal death. This does not mean annihilation but rather eternal torment (Luke 16:19-31, Matthew 18:8, Mark 9:47-48, Isaiah 66:24, Revelation 20:10, 14-15), for the Bible is very clear that both the righteous and the wicked will be resurrected (Revelation 20:11-15, Matthew 25). The righteous will enter eternal life, and the wicked will enter eternal hell.
When we compare ourselves to other people (sinners comparing themselves to other sinners), we usually don’t view ourselves as being that bad. We reason that everybody rebels against authority by driving over the speed limit sometimes (or all the time), everybody tells “white” lies, everyone steals time from their company and lots of people cheat on their taxes. But in the light of God’s holy, sinless presence, and in comparison to his perfect standard of morality, our motives and actions expose us to be rebels, thieves and cheats. We stand guilty before God without a single plea (Romans 3:9-20). Therefore God would be unjust (not unloving) not to send us to hell.
Some feel that hell is too harsh of a judgment for a loving God to execute upon sinners, but to hold to that view is to disregard the intrinsic attributes of his divine nature: his infinite holiness, sinlessness and glory. One must also disregard God’s perfect, moral standard in order to hold to that view. Because God is perfect in every way he cannot compromise his moral standard of sinless perfection. Neither can he compromise his perfect justice by not punishing sin. He cannot contradict himself by compromising his perfect character.
But the great beauty of Jesus’ sacrifice is that this is where God’s love and justice perfectly meet.
God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to live the perfect, moral, sinless life that none of us could live. Because Jesus never sinned he never deserved to die (Romans 6:23). However, Jesus, though morally innocent, chose to take upon himself all of our sins and bear the full punishment for them through his death on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:18-21). Jesus died as a substitute and ransom for all those who trust in his sacrifice to atone for their sins. He rose from the dead three days later, making reconciliation with God possible.
In order to be forgiven, reconciled to God and saved from your sins and hell you must first repent (confess and turn away) from your sins. Second, you must trust in Jesus as your personal Savior, believing that he died to pay the punishment for your sins.
“There is no distinction, since all have sinned and continually fall short of the glory of God, and are being justified [declared free of the guilt of sin, made acceptable to God, and granted eternal life] as a gift by His [precious, undeserved] grace, through the redemption [the payment for our sin] which is [provided] in Christ Jesus, whom God displayed publicly [before the eyes of the world] as a [life-giving] sacrifice of atonement and reconciliation (propitiation) by His blood [to be received] through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness [which demands punishment for sin], because in His forbearance [His deliberate restraint] He passed over the sins previously committed [before Jesus’ crucifixion]. It was to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the One who justifies those who have faith in Jesus [and rely confidently on Him as Savior].” (Romans 3:22-26 AMP)