How Can It Be Right For God to Send Sinners to Hell? part 1

19 Mar

1. If we look at how terribly evil sin really is, we see that it deserves a terrible punishment. If it deserves a terrible punishment than it is right for God to punish it the way it deserves to be punished. When you deserve a certain punishment, it is a just punishment. If someone says, that punishment is deserved but it is not just for him to receive it, well, that just doesn’t make sense. If he deserves it, it is just.

Now we know that crimes deserve greater or less punishment depending on whether the crime itself is big or small. The greater the fault, the greater the punishment deserved. You can’t really argue then that if a punishment is terrible it is automatically unjust, the question is does the punishment fit the crime? In other words, we can’t look at hell and say because it is a terrible punishment it is an unjust punishment. We have to look at hell and ask, is this really what sin deserves?

The problem most of us have when we go to answer that question is we look to ourselves for the solution. We look at our sin and we look at hell and we say, no that punishment is too big. But obviously the last person to ask does the punishment fit the crime is the person who committed the crime. We know very well that it is extremely rare for someone who has committed a crime to agree with the punishment that is inflicted as a result. It is unusual for a criminal about to be executed to say, yes, this is right. A better way to look at how terrible a crime is to compare it with an objective standard. This means to see how terrible sin is we must not look to ourselves but to God.

What makes sin so extremely terrible is the fact that it is against God. Bottom line. We can see the evil of sin in several ways when we begin to compare it to God. For one thing, there’s our relationship with God. What a person owes another person can make a crime greater or worse. It can make the same action evil or neutral. For example, no one is going to send me to jail if I don’t provide for children living in China. Why? There’s no relationship there. There’s no obligation. But please send me to jail if I neglect my own children? Why? Relationship. What I owe my children. Every single person on the planet as a relationship with God and as a result owes Him something. Everything. He is the one who created them, provides for them, sustains them every moment along the way. Another way to see the evil of sin is to think about the authority and importance of God. If someone slaps me, I doubt the police will even care. But if someone slaps President Obama, that man is going to be going downtown for a good old long time. Why? Obama’s position. Now with all due respect to President Obama, God’s authority and importance far excels his. God is so high above any human authority in fact he makes them look like beggars in comparison. The perfect supernatural angels even cover their faces and cry out holy, holy, holy as they come into His presence. If a crime against Obama is larger because of his greater importance, how much more so any sin against God. Still another way to see the evil of sin is to think about God’s character. It’s one thing to commit a crime against an evil dictator, it is another to commit a crime against your father or mother whose character is good and kind. If we could see God, we would see that here is a person who is love. As for holiness, absolutely pure. There’s not even a speck of sin in Him. His goodness and mercy, it is literally unending. To quote Jonathan Edwards, (and most of this post is really just bouncing off some of his thoughts) “God is a being infinitely lovely, because he has infinite excellency and beauty…So that sin against God, being a violation of infinite obligations, must be a crime infinitely heinous.” And thus deserving an infinite punishment, no matter how small we think the fault really is.

One Response to “How Can It Be Right For God to Send Sinners to Hell? part 1”

  1. Debbie Feller March 19, 2010 at 7:24 am #

    Thanks for the great teaching!

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