JOHN 3:19-21: “This is why people are condemned: The light came into the world. Yet, people loved the dark rather than the light because their actions were evil. People who do what is wrong hate the light and don’t come to the light. They don’t want their actions to be exposed. But people who do what is true come to the light so that the things they do for God may be clearly seen.” (GW)
OBSERVATION: How could a loving God send anyone to hell? Have you ever been asked that question? When someone asks this question it is either coming from a sincere heart that is seeking for answers, or from a hardened heart that desires to justify their own sin. It is really an easy question to answer if we allow the Bible to speak for itself and resist the temptation to add our own conjecture.
Jesus gives us the answer to this important question in His dialogue with Nicodemus, a Pharisee and member of the Jewish Council. Nicodemus was intrigued by Jesus, and secretly came to talk to Him at night. In their conversation Jesus surprised Nicodemus when He proclaimed – “…I can guarantee this truth: No one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” (John 3:3 GW). Jesus, whom John proclaimed was the light that shines upon every man, was now shining His truth and His invitation upon Nicodemus’ heart. How would Nicodemus respond?
Nicodemus responded the way most people do at first. They are looking for outward change, not inward transformation. When Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must be born of water and the Spirit, He is calling Nicodemus to repentance and faith! And here is where we begin to answer the question – “How could a loving God send anyone to hell?” No one initially wants to deal with their sin. No one naturally wants to repent. Our normal reaction is to first become defensive, and then to begin to rationalize our actions. Yet, like Nicodemus, we all must answer God’s call to repentance.
Jesus makes it clear that the Father’s intent has always been to save mankind. In fact, in a further study of the Scriptures we find that hell was never created for man, but for satan and the fallen angels. Jesus declared God’s heart,
- “God loved the world this way: He gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but to save the world. Those who believe in him won’t be condemned. But those who don’t believe are already condemned because they don’t believe in God’s only Son.” (John 3:16-18 GW)
And here is where we discover the answer to our question. God desires to save man who is hell bent on going to hell! You see, when Jesus Christ came to walk this earth, mankind was racing toward the cliff. They already were under condemnation for their sin, and they were headed for eternal separation from God – for eternity! Jesus, God in human flesh, stepped into history to pay the penalty for our sin and to make it possible for everyone who believes in Him to be born from above. In essence, when we place our faith in Christ our loving God cancels our ticket to hell (that we have purchased through our own actions), and gives us a ticket to heaven – eternal and everlasting life!
So, if this is true, why doesn’t everyone get in line to change their trip? Jesus answered that question too!
- “This is why people are condemned: The light came into the world. Yet, people loved the dark rather than the light because their actions were evil. People who do what is wrong hate the light and don’t come to the light. They don’t want their actions to be exposed.”
When a man or woman chooses to hold onto their ticket to hell, because they love their sin more than the gift of life that is given from a loving God, they are responsible for their final destination. This is why Paul declares – “…the wages of sin is death.” Wages are earned. If anyone goes to hell it is not because of a loving God – it is because they have worked hard at it all their life. They have loved darkness rather than light, and for a lifetime have refused to come to the light because they did not want their actions to be exposed.
Yet, to everyone who loves the light. To everyone who turns from their sin (darkness) to the light. To everyone who hears the call of God, repents, and believes in Jesus Christ – a wonderful discovery is made! They discover that God’s love has always been calling them to eternal life. It was Jesus who came to break the sentence of condemnation that was already upon every man and woman. Rather than a loving God sending someone to hell, they discover a loving God who died in their place and has opened the way to heaven. And they discover that all that they had cherished from the darkness has been replaced by His glorious life and love!
- “But people who do what is true come to the light so that the things they do for God may be clearly seen.”
Lord, open our eyes to behold the light of the world! Open our eyes to see Jesus!
In Jesus Name!