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In answering this question (and all questions), we need to start by remembering Who God is and what He has done for us.

Who God Is

God is love. He is kind and merciful. He is gracious–and, He is just.  

When God created the earth, and all that is in it, He created it perfect.  All creation was in perfect harmony with Him and the world functioned according to His perfect will and ways.   

Genesis 1:31  And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.

Of course, we know that everything changed when Adam disobeyed God. Both sin and corruption entered the world, and man was separated from the perfect union he had enjoyed with his Creator. But God, in His great love and mercy, promised to send a deliverer (Genesis 3:15), One who would rescue man from his fallen state and restore him to God.  In this, God demonstrated His great love and mercy…and, in sending Jesus, He demonstrated His justice.

What God Has Done for Mankind

In His time, God sent Jesus to redeem the world by paying the penalty for man’s sin and opening the way to restoring our relationship with God.  Jesus’ death on the cross secured forgiveness of sins.  It was a just settlement of our account by our gracious God. 

Ephesians 1:7  In Whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

When sinners trust in Jesus’ atoning work on the cross, the penalty of their sins is removed from their account, they are regenerated, and receive Jesus’ righteousness imputed (credited) to their account.    A redeemed sinner is positionally reborn “in Christ,” so when God judges him, he stands in Christ’s righteousness and is found to be righteous in the eyes of a Just Judge.  This righteousness is not because of what they have done, but because of what Christ has done for them.

Romans 4:24  But for us also, to whom it [righteousnes] shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;  

With a remembrance of God’s great love, mercy, and grace, and His perfectly just plan of redemption, let’s return to the question before us.

How Can a Loving God Send Someone to Hell?

First, understand that God can forgive any sin, but, in accordance with His justice, He must judge ALL sin….and He did.  God judged all sin at the cross and Jesus paid the penalty for every past, present, and future sin of man.  

Colossians 2:14  Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.

Salvation in Christ is a gift offered freely to all because Jesus died for all people (2 Corinthians 5:15).  

Ephesians 2:8  For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.

2 Peter 3:9  The Lord is…not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

However, while the gift of forgiveness of sins and imputed righteousness of Christ is offered to all, it must be received.  Although God desires that all people be saved, He will not force anyone to accept this gift.  For the person who does not receive Christ’s forgiveness and dies in unrepentant sin, God will judge that person’s sin.  Unlike the believer who has been justified in Christ (Read: The Gift of SalvaTION: Justification & Imputation),  and without the imputed righteousness that Jesus gives to forgiven sinners, man will be found wanting and he will be judged guilty.  The Bible tells us that “the wages of sin is death”  (Romans 6:23) and that there is a place prepared for the unrighteous called hell.  Sadly it is a place of torment.  

Hell is…

For those who do die in unrepentant and unforgiven sin. It is their sin that condemns them, not God. 

John 3:18  “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

God, in His love, mercy, grace, and His justice, has offered the only provision that can blot out the condemnation against man.  That provision is Jesus.  His life, death, burial, and resurrection offer life to all who will come to Him in faith.  

Yes, those who reject Jesus will perish. But while this is very sad, it is not unjust.

Reframing the Question

So rather than ask the question, how can a loving God allow people to suffer in Hell, we should ask, how could a just God allow anyone into Heaven who does not have the righteousness of Christ?  (Read: Are We All God’s Children?)

Because God gave His only begotten Son to pay for man’s sins, where one will spend eternity is man’s choice and there are only two choices:

    1. Receive Jesus and spend eternity with Him.
    2. Reject Jesus and perish.

Conclusion

In our love for others, it is very difficult to think about friends and family perishing. But remember, they perish because of their unforgiven sins, their unrighteousness, their choice to reject Jesus, and refuse the gift of salvation God desires they receive.  Their perishing cannot be blamed on God.  

In our love for others, we should be motivated and diligent to share the gospel of saving grace with all people. Always remember the blessings of forgiveness and the imputed righteousness that you have received from a just and loving God and be ready, willing, and able to share the love of Jesus and His saving grace with someone today.

Isaiah 45:21  …there is no other God besides Me, A just God and a Savior; There is none besides Me.  Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.

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Further reading about our loving God:

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Jesus is the Reason this Ministry Exists

Thank you to all who contributed in 2020. Your generosity is a blessing and encouragement to us.  We did not meet expenses in 2020 and still need your help to continue our global outreach in 2021.  Our mission is to glorify God by equipping, encouraging, and empowering YOU to understand the Bible and grow in faith. If our online resources have blessed you, we hope you will support Reasons for Hope* Jesus. Our ministry outreach has grown significantly and. . .

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***A Hidden Message in Psalm 23?***  

Hidden in the six verses of Psalm 23 are 11 names for Jesus.  When you subscribe to our newsletter, we’ll send you The Names of God in Psalm 23 PDF that reveals all 11 names and Scripture verses of comfort and hope (link will be sent in your confirmation email).

A Room with a View of Eternity—The Last Will & Testament of Jesus Christ   Take a seat at the Master's table. Learn about the riches He gives to all who are His. This book will bless and encourage you, give you hope, and help you live in the joy of your salvation and the riches of Christ that are yours.

 

The Top Ten Got Questions? in 2020

  1.  The Meaning of NUMBERS in the Bible?
  2. The Meaning of COLORS in the Bible?
  3. Did The Wise Men Arrive 12 DAYS AFTER JESUS’ BIRTH? Or Was It Much Later?
  4. What is the Significance of the Wise Men's THREE GIFTS? And were they kings? 
  5. How are the Shepherd’s Rod and Staff Different?
  6. What Does It Mean to TASTE & SEE That God Is Good? (Psalm 34)
  7. What do the 12 stones UNDER the JORDAN River mean? (Joshua 4)
  8. Is Leonard Cohen’s “HALLELUJAH” a Christian Song?
  9. How was Jesus Like a Worm? What’s the CRIMSON (OR SCARLET) WORM? Psalm 22
  10. Is my TATTOO a sin?

This is not a Got Questions? article. But it's so popular it ranked among the top pages viewed:

More Popular Got Questions & Articles

Was Jesus CRUCIFIED on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday?
Where did OT Saints go at death? ABRAHAM'S BOSOM
If BAPTIZED as an Infant, Do I Need to Be Re-Baptized?
What Does it Mean to Be A CHILD OF GOD?
Which OT Book Did JESUS QUOTE Most Often?
How Did the Wise Men Know This Was the Messiah and KNOW TO FOLLOW HIS STAR?
What Did Jesus Say About HEAVEN (and HELL)?
How long did JOB SUFFER?
Three Heavens? Where is the THIRD HEAVEN?
What are the “I Will ” STATEMENTS of Satan, God, and Jesus?
SIN, INIQUITY, TRANSGRESSION? How are they different?
Should we call HIM JESUS? Or Yahweh? Or Yeshua?
Is Satan’s Real Name LUCIFER?
JESUS WEPT. Why? 
Is There a Remez (HIDDEN MESSAGE ) in Revelation 7? Why is Dan Missing?
Is It a Sin to Drink ALCOHOL?
Is SUICIDE an Unforgivable Sin?

Something ALL Christians must know:  IVDARR

Reasons for Hope* Jesus video banner

TOP TEN Videos from Reasons for Hope* Jesus
  1. Memorial Day BAGPIPES TRIBUTE: Amazing Grace
  2. Christian Version of Leonard Cohen's HALLELUJAH
  3. RISE AND SHINE and Give God the Glory, Glory!
  4. WERE YOU THERE When They Crucified My Lord?
  5. PAUL HARVEY: THE BIRDCAGE
  6. PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: A SOLDIER'S PLEDGE
  7. JOHN WAYNE ~ WHY I LOVE AMERICA
  8. THE LEGEND OF THE CANDY CANE - A Christmas Story to Share
  9. TASTE AND SEE that the Lord is Good ~ Psalm 34
  10. Hark! the Herald Angels Sing -- CHARLIE BROWN Christmas

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