God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him. (THE MESSAGE)
Sad to say, some Christians through the ages have seemed to lick their lips at the thought of sinners going to hell. They preach and speak of a God who is just itching to cast his enemies into everlasting torture. They are tragically mistaken.
As our text reminds us, God’s great goal is to have people live forever with him. And to that end, he sent Jesus to make it possible. Those who trust in who Jesus was and what he did have that sort of life. God wants all to take up his offer, he wants all to be saved.
But what of those who won’t heed the message? God is not going to force heavenly life on anyone: it would cease to be heavenly if people were coerced into it. Some people will want to be rebels to the end. So there has to be another place or mode of existence or alternative destiny for them. And Christians disagree on just what that means in practice.
C.S. Lewis has said the doors of hell are locked on the inside. God, in fact, sends no one to whatever we may call “hell”. He simply allows us to make our choices and he honours our choices. He will do all possible to have us make the better choice but will not make that choice for us.
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God offers us heaven. If we refuse that offer, we in fact choose the other place. Those who want nothing to do with God would find heaven hellish.