“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)
God is merciful, gracious, and loving (Eze. 18:23, 32). It is foreign to His nature to inflict pain, punishment and death, upon His creatures. But at the same time He will “by no means clear the guilty” (Ex. 34:7). Sometimes divine justice seems delayed that people may think it will never come (Eccl. 8:11; Zeph. 1:12), and sinners continue in the evil course hurting themselves and others. But the truth is that judgment in hell will certainly come (Isa. 28:14, 22, 23).
At the second coming Christ will appear as king coming to judge His enemies (Rev. 19:11–21), men will see Him acting in a role that is greatly different from the role He had at His first coming. The Lamb of God will appear as “the Lion of the tribe of Juda” (Rev. 5:5, 6). God’s purpose is that hell will destroy the devil, all sin, and sinners forever. Then, the world will be safe for eternity. One sinner, if left on this planet, would be a threat to the peace of God’s good children.
At the cross, God’s mercy and justice were fully satisfied (Romans 5:9). The innocent Son of God received the punishment for our sins in His body. Christ paid all the price that no one may need to suffer in hell (Luke 9:56). God’s deepest desire is to save humanity, “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?” (Ezekiel 33:11).
The work of God has always been to save rather than destroy. The work of destroying the wicked in hell fire is so foreign to God’s nature that the Bible calls it His “strange act” (Isaiah 28:21). God’s great heart will ache at the destruction of the wicked. But after the destruction of sin, God’s children will be filled with perfect peace, love and everlasting joy (Isaiah 51:11).
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In His service,
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