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If God is love, why will He punish the wicked in hell?

Topic: God

God Is Love

The Old Testament teaches that God is love. The Lord declared His character to Moses saying, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty” (Exodus 34:6,7). Our heavenly Father’s character is described as consisting of three fundamental qualities—mercy, justice, and truth. But the greatest focus is placed upon mercy because the Lord’s relationship to us is based upon it (1 John 4:7–12).

The New Testament, confirms the same truth that “God is love” (1 John 4:16). Without love, He would not be the Lord. His loving-kindness is abundant (Romans 5:20). The Almighty permitted sin and allowed it to take place, and then overruled it and brought about the most wonderful revelation of His mercy and grace, so that the rewards of salvation infinitely exceeded the evils of sin.

The Lord Is Just

Although the Lord is merciful to repentant sinners, He cannot afford to weaken His rule by ignoring justice (Psalms 85:10; 89:14). His justice is an important element in His kingdom (2 Thessalonians 1:6) as His mercy is important. Without justice, He could not be Himself. Justice is a necessary consequence of His love, for a Creator all mercy is a Creator unjust.

The Bible teaches that the Lord delights in mercy (Micah 7:18), but it doesn’t teach that He delights in executing justice upon men. In fact, it calls His judgments His “strange work” (Isaiah 28:21). The Lord’s mercy manages His justice and makes Him “longsuffering” to people (Lamentations 3:22; Romans 2:4).

When the Lord permits the consequences of sin to unfold, He does it in love not in anger. Like the surgeon, the Lord uses the knife of pain in this life to bring about healing from the disease of sin in the lives of His children (Hebrews 12:5–11; Revelation 3:19).

Divine Justice Requires the Punishment of the Wicked

The Bible teaches that the Creator “will render to each one according to his deeds” (Romans 2:6 also 14:12; Matthew 16:27; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 22:12). Not only will the judgment deal with a person’s actions; it will also consider their influence upon others, both for good or evil. The Lord measures a person’s accountability by his knowledge of what is required of him and the truth he could have known (Ezekiel 3:18–21; Luke 23:34; John 15:22; 1 Timothy 1:13; James 4:17).

At the Day of Judgement, the Lord will end the sin problem by fire and will cleanse the earth once and for all from its deadly effects (Revelation 20:9). The wicked will be destroyed in hell. They will experience the “second death” (verse. 6).

Hell Will Not Be Forever

The Bible doesn’t teach the doctrine of eternal torture in an ever-burning hell. It specifically teaches that hell fire will go out and that there will not be left “a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before it” (Isaiah 47:14). Malachi wrote that sinners would burn up as “stubble” and would become “ashes under the soles” of the feet of the redeemed (Malachi 4:1, 3). Even Satan will be turned to ashes upon the earth (Ezekiel 28:18). The wicked do not keep on burning endlessly; the fires of the last day will literally “burn them up” (Jeremiah 17:27; Matthew 3:12; 25:41; 2 Peter 3:7–13; Jude 7).

The wages of sin is not eternal life in hell fire, but “death” (Romans 6:23), the same penalty the Creator assured Adam and Eve would be theirs if they ate the forbidden fruit (Genesis 2:17). Ezekiel states clearly that “the soul who sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4) not live in misery. For more on this topic, check: https://bibleask.org/god-going-tourture-sinners-forever-hell/

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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