Sin, Hell, and a loving God

In the very beginning of man, Adam and Eve were given perfection. They chose with their sinful hearts to disobey God in his only request of them.  As Kristen said, they had “one job to do” and they blew it. But know, this was of no surprise to our omniscient God.  This is just the beginning of a great story that is still unfolding. 

Because of Adam and Eve’s original sin we are all born sinners (Romans 5:12-13). David says in Psalm 51 : 5 “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” I have young children. I assure you they are born into sin. There is no doubt in my mind that everyone is naturally selfish, greedy, deceitful and disobedient (Ephesians 2:3).

So, if we were born sinners how can we be judged for our sin? This has a “good news, bad news" (or rather hard news) message for me.  Let’s unpack the hard news first because I assure you there is very good news to come if you can hang in there with me. 

THE HARD NEWS

There is judgment for sinners. Sin cannot dwell with our perfect and holy God, therefore there must be judgment. The day will absolutely come where the sheep (believers) will be separated from the goats (unrepentant). Every person who is living or has lived will stand before a righteous God and make account for their lives. 

The wrath of God against what is ungodly is real. The unrepentant will suffer. They will depart from Jesus, into eternal punishment. (Matthew 25:31-46)

Just as Joy talks about God still being good even when we don’t get the answer to prayer that we want, He is still good even though some people perish.

THE GOOD NEWS

God loves us. We are the apple of his eye (Psalm 17:8), the capstone of his creation (Genesis 1:31) and He is good all the time. 

There is grace upon grace for all people (John 1:16). God makes plain to us what can be known about him. He shows it to all that are able to understand. “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans 1:18-20) 

THE REALLY GOOD NEWS

The gospel is called “good news” for a reason. Jesus is the gospel. His life, death and resurrection is the summary of the gospel. 

If you are in Christ, you stand before your maker, your judge without any blame. None. God sees a holy person. Your rap sheet is miraculously clean. God finds no fault in you because he sees only the perfection of Christ – the one who really is without blame (Colossians 1:15-23). 

This is the ultimate good news. In fact, there is not better news. 

DO NOT TAKE MY WORD FOR IT

Although the “good news, hard news” point could seem simple, let me not simplify this too much. All scripture is God-breathed and true (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Struggling with parts of it does not make it less true.  

The writers of Live In The Round feel strongly that we do not want to take the place of your God-ordained church community, personal time in your Bible and in prayer. These are hard questions worth wrestling with in much more than a 700 word blog post. 

Dig deeply into the mystery of Jesus. Read for yourself the scriptures I have referenced.  Your life will be far richer for it and you will not be disappointed as you press in to your Lord. Desire to grow in understanding of Him and fall more deeply in love. 

“God gets more honor when we worship on the basis of what we know about him than he gets if we worship on the basis of what we don’t know. If our effort to know God more clearly is not an effort to love him more dearly, it will be fatal” (John Piper, “Does God Desire All to Be Saved?”)

If you want to wrestle deeper with me in these questions of God’s judgment and grace here is a free downloadable book “Does God Desire All to Be Saved?” by a pastor for whom I have great respect, John Piper.