The Love of God :: by Grant Phillips

I recently received a few emails, basically asking me to stop talking about hell, that since Jesus is love and He is fair, He would not send anyone to hell who is a good person.

Jesus had a great deal to say about hell, actually more than He did about Heaven. Don’t you think He just might want all of us to know about this place of torment, so it can be avoided by coming to Him in faith? Jesus gives eternal life and a home in Heaven, to all who come to Him. To the contrary, Satan entices as many as possible to his future home, hell, which will be transferred to the lake of fire at the end of the thousand year reign of Christ. How does Satan entice us? He does so by convincing people they do not need to come to Jesus because they are okay, they’re good enough, Jesus would send no one to hell, and many other excuses.

Dare I avoid the bad news of hell, simply because it may not be pleasant to hear? It is only unpleasant if you choose it over Heaven.

The Apostle Paul said to the Galatians, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?”  (Galatians 4:16) I heard a very well-known and respected pastor on the radio, just this week, speak on this very subject, and he stated, “Without bad news, there can be no good news.” Did you ever think of that? Obviously, instead of bad news or good news, all news would just be news, period.

Almost anything you buy has a warning label on it. Some are obviously ridiculous, but they are there no less. The Surgeon General and the FDA provide warnings. How many have bought medicine and not read the side effects (warnings) associated with the medicine? If not, you should. What good parent would not warn their child of predators, or to stay out of the road, or don’t play with fire, etc.? Come on now, cannot God provide warnings? The Ten Commandments are warnings. If we follow them, we will stay out of trouble. If we don’t, there is going to be trouble. If you proceed down the “narrow road” all will be okay. If you remain on the “wide road” it will not be okay.

“And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,” (Luke 8:1) “And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15) “Glad tidings” in these two verses mean “good news”. This is good news, but if this is good news, there must also be bad news, just as there is “down verses up”, and “cold verses hot” and “bad verses good,” etc. So if we speak of the good (Heaven), we must warn of the bad (hell), just as Jesus Himself did so many times.

I believe that the greatest hurdle for mankind to get over, concerning this subject, can be stated in one word, “works”. The legalists of Paul’s day were infested with it, and it remains alive and well today. How could it be clearer than this, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”? (Ephesians 2:8-9) It simply does not matter how good or bad you are, or what you do, when referring to the eternal destination of your soul. There is one door into Heaven, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” (John 10:9) There is one way to Heaven. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)

The door of hell stands wide open. Those who depend on their own works instead of the works of Jesus Christ to save them will enter through that door, regardless of how good they have been while on this earth. Am I saying that good, moral, mind their own business, obey the laws, pay their taxes, friendly, social, faithful to their spouse, love their children, those who are kind to and help others, even church going folks could go to hell? If they are not a born-again child of God, who has been saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, the answer is “yes”. It is not about what you do. It is about what you believe. Only by Jesus Christ is our eternal destiny determined for the good. That is the point. So is God to blame that many will spend eternity in hell, as many would have you believe? The emphatic answer is “no”, as we will see while taking a look at the love of God.

Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) Here is the issue in simple points:

  • Sin came into the world from Satan by our original parents, Adam and Eve. Revelation 12:9; Romans 3:23
  • Sin must be judged. Romans 6:23
  • All mankind has sinned against God. James 2:10
  • All mankind will be judged. John 16:8-11; Hebrews 9:27-28; Daniel 12:2
  • All mankind will also be judged for their works. Matthew 16:27; Titus 3:4-7

The conclusion is, unless there is some way to avoid judgment all mankind will end up in hell, because of our sins and because of our works. Our sins condemn us, and our works are never good enough. “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.” (Isaiah 64:6).

So what are we to do? Yes, God is love, but He is also absolute righteousness, and uncleanness cannot dwell in His presence. Since He is just, sin must be judged, and the judgment is eternal damnation in an eternal hell. Then death and hell will be cast in the lake of fire where all who reject Jesus will exist forever outside the presence of God. (Revelation 20:14) It is my opinion that there will be different degrees of punishment in hell, but alas, it is still hell. That’s no comfort. Again, what are we to do?

There is one way out of this mess we find ourselves, and better yet, there is actually a wonderful blessing if we take this only way out.

God looked down on mankind in eternity past, and said to Himself, “I know that all mankind will be corrupted by Satan, but I’ll provide the way back to Me for those who will come by the method I provide.” He went on in His thoughts. “Someone who is absolutely perfect could pay the price to redeem those who will come to Me. Nothing less will work.” So God looked down through time to the furthest point of mankind’s future, and could find no one who was perfect. There were many good people, but none who could pay the price for sin. So He said, “There is only one. It must be my Son. He can do it.”

So who does God send to pay the price for our sins (and our worthless goodness)? He goes Himself. He takes on the flesh of His own creation, man, by placing Himself in a virgin’s womb, and is born and lives as a man. In the flesh of man, He is called Jesus. He left His throne in Heaven, and fulfilled everything His Father asked Him to do. He lived a sinless life, and allowed a mob to beat Him and crucify Him on a Roman cross. Thankfully, that wasn’t the end. He rose from the grave exactly as He said He would. He paid the price in full. When He returned to Heaven, He sent His Spirit to live within each person who would be born-again (1st time physically; 2nd time spiritually) in Him. Each of these who come to Him, believe in Him enough to follow Him, even if it means persecution and death to do so.

So should I speak about hell? Should others? Oh yes! If Jesus thought it was important enough to warn us of this place, then it must be important. But listen! That is only one part of being born-again in Jesus. He lives within us while on this earth, cleans us up, helps us to live for Him, gives us a peace that the world cannot give or understand, instills happiness that others strive for but cannot find, takes away the fear of death, comforts us in our sorrows, gives us His strength when we are weak, provides us a home in Heaven where we will live with Him for eternity, and so much more. Think about this, because without it we are doomed. He gives to those who believe on Him, His own righteousness. Why is this so important? Read Isaiah 64:6 again, and you will have the answer.

That, my friends, is the love of God, unconditional love, meaning He doesn’t love us because of who we are, or what we have done. He loves us because of Who He is. Even while we are His enemies, He died for us. (Romans 5:10) He walked the talk for us.

Would you rather talk about the love of God, since this is the title of this article? Okay, let’s talk about it. How about John 3:16, the most well-known verse in the Bible. It says, “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.” That went well. Let’s read the next one, verse seventeen. “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” Fantastic! Isn’t it great! Let’s go on with verse eighteen. “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” Condemned! Oh my goodness, that’s a warning! What happened?!

Open your eyes and see that warnings are given through love. If God did not warn us, would He love us? Surely, the answer is clear. In His mind-boggling love He has for us, He has made it very, very clear that there is one way to Him and that is through His Son Jesus Christ. If we think we’re good enough, what else can He do? If we think our way is better, what else can He do? We have been warned, and the alternative is to abide with Satan in hell. May we choose instead to live with Christ in Heaven.

If it were not for the love of God, we would all march right into hell. If God had not followed up on His love, and sacrificed Himself on our behalf to satisfy His righteousness and justice, we would all spend an eternity in hell. Bad people and good people go to hell when they die for one reason, they deny the only way to God, i.e. Jesus Christ.

To say that “I’m good enough”, “I’ll be alright”, “God would never send me to hell”, or all the other excuses that come up, is a slap in the face to God. Why is that? To reject the most precious gift that He could ever give, His Son, is to spit upon God, and say “My righteousness is just has good as His, so no thanks, I’ll do it my way”. If we want to do it our way, that’s fine, but our way will send us to a devil’s hell. In other words, we make our own decision to choose hell. Soquit blaming God for your own pride and hard-heartedness. He has done all He can do. Now you need to decide. So what is it going to be, His way, or your way? In His great love for us, He has provided the way to Him, and warned us of the outcome if we choose another way. That is the love of God.

If one soul is saved from hell, or one Christian inspired to follow Jesus as they should, the angels of Heaven will rejoice, and I will too, right along with them. It is so tragic that some cannot see this, and others are out to glorify only themselves (blindness and pride).

Pride was the downfall of Satan, and it is also the downfall of mankind. The love of God cannot exist in a heart filled with false pride. Dear friends, if we want the love of God to live in us, how can it happen, if we don’t care enough to warn others about hell? How can we have the love of God when our pride is in the way? The Apostle John says, “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.” (1 John 3:14 NIV)

Let me say in closing, it isn’t about you and it isn’t about me. All we live for should be about Jesus Christ, and sharing Him with others. If your eyes are only on you, you do not have the love of God living within you. Maybe you need to call upon His Son to be saved, or if you are a Christian, maybe you need to ask Him to open your eyes to Jesus and take them off yourself. That may sound hard, but without God’s love working in us and through us we are as “sounding brass, or a tinkling symbol” (1 Corinthians 13:1).

Grant Phillips

Pre-Rapture Commentary