When I worked full-time at the local newspaper years ago, several fellow employees enjoyed posing what they considered difficult questions about my faith.
A popular one was, why don’t you drink? Or, how can you have any fun without drinking? That one was easy enough to answer. I didn’t make any converts – the drinkers were still going to drink, no matter what I said – but people seemed to understand my thoughts on the matter.
A more serious question was, how could a loving God send people to hell? Most people were surprised by the simplicity of the answer.
God doesn’t send people to hell. In fact, the opposite is true. He invites everyone join him in heaven for eternity, as described in 2 Peter 3:9.
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
The Old Testament, too, reveals God’s tender heart and eternal hope that man will turn to him.
Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live? Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye. – Ezekiel 18:23, 31, 32
Despite mankind’s sin – Adam and Eve’s, as well as our own – God didn’t just slam the door of heaven in our faces and shove us down the chute to hell, as some may imagine. Instead, he implemented a plan (one he had created in eternity past) that would wipe away all traces of our wrongdoing and allow us into his presence.
His plan, of course, was Jesus.
God’s Son would become a man. As both God and man, Jesus alone had the power to take on the burden of mankind’s sin without succumbing to it. For those who recognize their own sin, and believe in the power of Christ’s sacrifice of his life for theirs, the weight of sin is lifted.
To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace. – Ephesians 1: 6, 7
Ultimately, people – not God – choose their final destination, heaven or hell. God has provided a simple means of avoiding hell and joining him in heaven.
Have you chosen heaven? If you’d like to know more about this topic, or share your own salvation experience, please feel free to comment below.