Listen to Nancy’s answer recorded live on Mornings with Kelli and Steve, on Moody Radio.
Sometimes I have a hard time believing the punishment of sin matches up with the severity, anguish and eternal hell. Can you help me understand how hell is just, especially for those who never heard the name of Jesus on earth?
This is one question that we all grapple with at some time in our life. It is he clash between the Holy and sin. We tend to see God first as being kind, gentle and loving. These attributes tend to override all His other attributes. At the same time, He is a holy, righteous and just God which keeps him from tolerating or overlooking sin.
Because God is merciful, and calls those who sin to Himself. He is merciful; there are no limits to His mercy. “Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7).
All of our sins a sin against God. When David sinned by committing adultery with Bathsheba and having Uriah murdered, he responded, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight…” (Psalm 51:4).
God is an eternal and infinite Being (Psalm 90). As a result, all sin requires an eternal punishment. God’s Holy, perfect, and infinite character has been offended by our sin. Although to our finite minds our sin is limited in time, to God—who is outside of time—the sin He hates goes on and on. Our sin is eternally before Him and must be eternally punished in order to satisfy His holy justice. The realities of eternal damnation, eternal hell, and eternal punishment are frightening and disturbing. But it is good that we might, indeed, be terrified.
While this may sound grim, there is good news. God loves us and wants us to be saved from hell (2 Peter 3:9). In His great mercy and love, God provided His own payment for our sin. He sent His Son Jesus Christ to pay the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross for us.
Jesus’ death was an infinite death because He is the infinite God/man, paying our infinite sin debt, so that we would not have to pay it in hell for eternity. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God,” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
When we confess our sin and place our faith in Christ, asking for God’s forgiveness based on Christ’s sacrifice, we are saved, forgiven, cleansed, and promised an eternal home in heaven. God loved us so much that He provided the means for our salvation, but if we reject His gift of eternal life, we will face the eternal consequences of that decision.