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Hell Demonstrates the Holiness and Justice of God
What would you think of a judge who refused to sentence those who broke the law? How about if you heard about a judge who had people come into his courtroom over and over again for all sorts of crimes, from misdemeanors to murder and just let them all off with a light slap on the wrist, and simply said: "Hey, don't do that again!" What would you call such a judge. Well, I'd call him unemployed.
And yet some of the same people who would run that imaginary judge out of town on a rail, would look at God and ask Him why there needs to be a Hell. They want Him to just overlook those who would break His holy laws, and refuse to repent and accept His sovereignty over the universe. They'd prefer a God of love, who was not also a God of justice.
My question to these people is: Do you really want that? Do you want a God who will look over the most heinous of sins and just say: "Oh well!" Most of us think that there have been major miscarriages of justice that have taken place in history. And all us would agree that there have been people that have lived that have committed such major atrocities that they deserve something more than what they got; (Adolf Hitler, just to name one). And if there is no Hell, that will never happen. They will have literally gotten away with murder, or torture, or rape or any number of major sins that you can think of.
Hell is necessary, because it demonstrates the holiness and justice of God. It is the ultimate place that beings go who will not follow the God of the universe.
I. Hell was Created for Satan and His Angels
According to the Bible, Hell was not originally created for the punishment of men. Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself said that it was prepared for the devil and his angels. It was made because Satan rebelled against a holy God and wanted to be a god himself. Remember the five "I wills" of Satan recorded in Isaiah 14:12-14. These verses show us His arrogance. They tell us:
"How have you fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn. You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations! But you said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven, I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High."
Hell was originally created for a creature, and his followers, who was so arrogant and prideful that He actually believed that he could be like the maker and sustainer of the universe. The creature made was saying to the creator: "I'm better than You and refuse to listen to You. I will take your place!"
II. Mankind Has Also Rebelled Against God
The interesting thing is that the same sin that was the downfall of Satan is what he tempted Eve with in the Garden of Eden. In trying to get her to eat fruit from the forbidden tree and openly rebel against God, he told her:
"For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
Scripture tells us that Eve was deceived and ate. Adam, on the other hand, ate with full knowledge of what he was doing. And in Romans 5:12, it says that by one man sin entered into the world.
Man has been in open rebellion against the living God ever since. Romans 1 records the depth of their depravity. And that depravity came from that rebellion. Let's look at a few verses:
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them, for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man, and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. (18-23)."
God allows His creatures free will. He allowed them to openly rebel. The next verse states that He "gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity" (24). However, because He is a Holy and just God, He cannot allow this rebellion to go unpunished. Ultimately, sin is rebellion and an open defiance of God. And there must come a day when He makes things right again.
III. Man Chooses Hell Over God
I like the words of C.S. Lewis because I believe that they sum up why anyone goes to Hell. He states:
"There are two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done" and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done." All that are in Hell choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and consciously desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened."
As long as anyone refuses to come to God in faith, acknowledging his or her sin and rebellion against a holy God, they will remain in their sins. They won't have any hope of heaven, and are bound for a godless eternity, separated from the one that they refuse to acknowledge.
The Lord has provided a way of escape from Hell. Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, came to earth, and lived the righteous life we could not live. And He died on the cross as punishment for the sins we couldn't pay (II Corinthians 5:21). But He rose from the grave as proof that God the Father accepted His sacrifice on our behalf. And all who believe in Him have life through His name. And one day Christ will return as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and He'll take all who have trusted Him to live with Him forever in the place He has prepared.
The question in your mind should not be: "Why Hell?" The question should be: "Why should I choose Hell, when the Lord has graciously provided a way of escape?" I pray that you'll choose Heaven.