Is God as described in the Holy Scriptures a loving God?
Yes, without a doubt. Else why would He have come to earth in human form? Why Jesus? John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” He loves us so much that He gave His son as a sacrifice for our sins.
Does God hate?
Yes, He hates sin. Sin cannot exist in God’s presence.
Is God just?
Absolutely and perfectly Just. He will punish sin and the evildoer and He will reward the righteous.
Which brings us to two things that most of Christendom does not like to discuss. Two things are most important for the world to understand. Mans words and deeds will be judged and punishment will be meted out to those who reject the mercy of God.
I have posted here a couple of notes from the Reformation Study Bible to help us understand a couple of doctrines that are of great importance to the people of God and are not well taught in the Church today.
The Final Judgment
The certainty of final judgment is the background against which the New Testament message of saving grace is set. Paul no less than Jesus stresses this certainty. According to Paul, Jesus Christ saves us from “the wrath to come” (1 Thess 1:10) on “the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed” (Rom 2:5; cf. John 3:36; Rom 5:9; Eph 5:6; Col 3:6; Rev 6:17; 19:15). Throughout Scripture, God’s “indignation,” “anger,” and “fury” are judicial; these words point to the holy Creator as the active Judge of sin. The message of coming judgment for all mankind, with Jesus Christ completing the work of His mediatorial kingdom by acting as Judge on His Father’s behalf, runs throughout the New Testament (Matt 13:40-43; 25:41-46; John 5:22-30; Acts 10:42; 2 Cor 5:10; 2 Tim 4:1; Heb 9:27; 10:25-31; 12:23; 2 Peter 3:7; Jude 6,7; Rev 20:11-15). When Christ comes again and history is completed, all people of all times will be raised for the judgment and take their place before Christ’s throne. The event surpasses imagination, but the human imagination is not the measure of what God will do.
At the judgment every person will give an individual account to God, and God through Christ “will render to each one according to his works” (Rom 2:6; cf. Ps 62:12; Matt 16:27; 2 Cor 5:10; Rev 22:12). The regenerate, who as servants of Christ have learned to love righteousness and desire the glory of heaven, will be acknowledged, and on the basis of Christ’s merit on their behalf they will be awarded the righteousness they seek. The rest will go to a destiny commensurate with the godless way of life they have chosen, a place assigned to them on the basis of their own demerit (Rom 2:6-11). How much they knew of the will of God will determine the severity of their condemnation (Matt 11:20-24; Luke 11:42-48; Rom 2:12).
The judgment will demonstrate the perfect justice of God. In a world of sinners, where God has “allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways” (Acts 14:16), evil is rampant, and doubts arise about how God, if He is sovereign, can be just, or, if He is just, can be sovereign. But God will be glorified in rendering just judgment, and the Last Judgment will answer every suspicion that He has ceased to care about righteousness (Ps 50:16-21; Rev 6:10; 16:5-7; 19:1-5).
For those who profess to belong to Christ, a review of their words and works (Matt 12:36,37) will show whether their profession is the fruit of an honest and good heart (Matt 12:33-35), or a deceptive hypocrisy (Matt 7:21-23). Everything will be exposed on Judgment Day (1 Cor 4:5), and each person will receive from God what fairly belongs to them. Those whose professed faith did not express itself in a new life, marked by hatred of sin and love of righteousness, will be lost (Matt 18:23-35; 25:34-46; James 2:14-26). Yet God has announced the day of judgment before the time, commanding everyone to repent and love life rather than death (Deut 30:19; Luke 13:24).
The New Testament views hell as the final abode of those condemned to eternal punishment at the Last Judgment (Matt 25:41-46; Rev 20:11-15). It is described as a place of fire and darkness (Jude 7,13), of “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt 8:12; 13:42,50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30), of destruction (2 Thess 1:7-9; 2 Peter 3:7; 1 Thess 5:3) and torment (Rev 20:10; Luke 16:23). These terms are probably symbolic rather than literal, but, if anything, the reality will be more terrible than the symbol. New Testament teaching about hell is meant to appall us and fill us with horror, persuading us that though heaven will be better than we could dream, so hell will be worse than we can imagine. These are the issues of eternity that must be realistically faced.
Hell is not so much the absence of God, as the consequence of His wrath and displeasure. God is like a consuming fire (Heb 12:29), and His righteous condemnation for defying Him and clinging to the sins He loathes will be experienced in hell (Rom 2:6,8,9,12). According to Scripture, hell is unending (Jude 13; Rev 20:10). There is no biblical warrant for speculations about a “second chance” after death, or an annihilation of the ungodly at some stage.
Those in hell will realize that they have sentenced themselves to be there because they have loved darkness rather than light, refusing to have their Creator as their Lord. They preferred the self-indulgence of sin to self-denying righteousness, rejecting the God that made them (John 3:18-21; Rom 1:18,24,26,28,32; 2:8; 2 Thess 2:9-11). General revelation confronts everyone with a certain evidence of God, and from this standpoint hell has a basis in God’s respect for human choice. All receive what they chose, either to be with God forever, or to be without Him. Those who are in hell will know, not only that for their doings they deserve it, but that in their hearts they chose it.
The purpose of the Bible’s teaching about hell is to make us turn with gratitude to the grace of Christ that saves us from it (Matt 5:29,30; 13:48-50). For this reason God’s warning to us is merciful; He has “no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live” (Ezek 33:11).
I have posted these not to frighten anyone but to help those confused by what they hear or more importantly don’t hear from the pulpits of so many of today’s churches. If you are in Christ the Last Judgement and Hell should instill no fear in your heart. Those that do not yet know Jesus and have not come to Him for salvation should, however, consider the warning given by the Scriptures referenced in today’s post.
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