About a two years ago we posted ★ “Back to the Basics” – Can 1 Conversation Change a Life? ★, in which we looked at how one conversation between Jesus and the Pharisee Nicodemus changed his life and how if we will be open to listening to the call of God, we could be used to change the life of others. I shared in ★ “Back to the Basics” – Pursuit #1 – Opening the Pipeline ★ about how I had a fantastic conversation with a man in the next seat on the flight home from Indiana which has continued with us texting back and forth about God and matters of faith. I have also been trading emails with a member of my project team about life. We went from discussing politics to what he thought about God which opened the door to the subject of today’s post. I would like to use his (6) questions to delve into the hot-button topic of “How God could send someone to Hell that never heard the gospel?” At the end of this post I will give you two messages from Pastors that I greatly respect and have sat under the teaching of for years (one in person and one through Podcast.) But I digress…I will paste my answer to each question in order of how he asked them…
1. Why is there not a Gospel of Jesus? So much was written by flawed men.
Though man is certainly flawed, the Bible was written by the direction of God. Part of my faith is that the Bible is the inherent Word of God. The first thing to understand is that though Jesus’ name is not on the top of any book, every word in the bible is inspired by God through the Holy Spirit. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV)
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
“All Scripture is breathed out by God” and was intended to be a road map or instruction manual for how to live.
2. How can Christianity which is all about Christ claim that all people who don’t accept Jesus go to hell and suffer for all eternity?
Regardless of the racial, social or economic background, every single person has been told of the existence of God…By God Himself. God has placed a God-shaped hole in everyone one of us. Every person has questioned where they came from, how they came about and ultimately what will happen after we breathe our last breath. The question is, do you look up or do you rebel against the truth? Also any sentient being cannot look at the magnificence of a sunrise, or the gentle breeze across halcyon wheat fields or the giggle of a child’s laughter and not wonder if there is not something greater than themselves. Again the question is, do you open your mind up to the possibility or repress the stirring? Pastor Robert Morris made statement:
“The Bible says that since the beginning of time, God has revealed Himself to every person both internally and externally. Every person is born with a conscience, given to them by God, that gives them guidance about right and wrong. Scripture says that creation itself is proof of His existence, and promises that every person who makes an effort to seek God will find Him. Therefore, no one has an excuse. We can see God if we’ll only look.”
Ultimately you have to understand that
- God is a just God, see Romans 1:18–20; Proverbs 8:17; Jeremiah 29:13; Matthew 7:7–11; and Acts 17:26–28 for more.
- God is a Holy God, see Psalm 99:5. In 1 Samuel 2:2 it says:
“There is no one holy like the LORD, Indeed, there is no one besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God.
Because God is just and holy many people see these 2 attributes as negatives, but there has to be consequences for Sin. But what many people struggle is that:
- God is a loving God. He sent His One and Only Son Jesus to be the payment, see John 3:16-17; Ephesians 2:8-9 and 1 Corinthians 15:1, 3-4 (NLT). God is a love! You may think it is unfair, but in 2 Peter 3:9 (ESV) it says:
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
3. Could you believe that a person like the Dali Lama who is kind and completely about peace in the world would go to Hell?
This question is a difficult one to answer. I cannot truly answer that question because God is the who judges and will decide who is destined to go to Hell or not. Jesus did say in John 14:6 (NLT),
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father [God] except through me.
The question though is from the presupposition that there are actually kind and good people. Romans 3:10-12 (NLT) says,
“As the Scriptures say, “No one is righteous— not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God. All have turned away; all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one.””
And Romans 3:23 (NLT) says:
“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.”
Sin is very real and though people may strive to be kind and peaceful; there is no one who is perfect. See Romans 3:24-26 and Romans 5:12-17. To make matters worse, 2 Corinthians 4:4 which talks about how “Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe.” It is interesting to note that people were never intended to go to Hell. God created Man to have a relationship with Him and set Him in the Garden of Eden which was paradise on earth. Robert Morris made this point:
“Hell was created for Satan and his angels, (see Matthew 25:41) when they inexcusably and rebelliously rejected God without cause. God sent His Son so that no one else would ever have to go there. God gave every person a free will. We can choose to love Him or to reject Him. The people in heaven are those who have chosen Him. Many others reject Him, in spite of His unlimited goodness. Our eternal destiny is not His choice, but ours. Hell wasn’t created for people, but according to Isaiah 5:14, it was enlarged because people inexcusably reject God. So, the question is, ‘How could anyone reject a loving God?’”
Isn’t that a fascinating thought? Instead of viewing it from the perspective that God is sending people to Hell, the truth is that People are choosing to go to Hell because of their blatant rejection of the free gift of salvation through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross! You can read more on this in the post ★ Thought for the Day – But God… ★.
4. How do I have faith when Christianity and all other religions say we go to hell if we don’t believe? Christianity is all about Jesus and Christianity says we go to hell when for many life is stacked against them even to the point they may not have even heard of him?
In addition to what I stated above, in a message that I just heard, Steven Furtick made this profound faith…
“The Opposite of Faith is not doubt. The Opposite of Faith is certainty.
Faith is meant to be more than a formality.
Faith was meant to be more than a feeling.
Faith was meant to be more than a formula.
In fact if you can reduce it to a formula and make sense out of it, it ain’t faith.”
“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.”
God is the only one who knows whose heart belongs to Him and whose has rebelled.
5. Is the simple answer that parts of the bible while true there maybe parts that are not because they were not written by Christ?
As I mentioned above, The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that the entire Bible is true. Charles Stanley made this statement.
“The truth of God’s Word applies to all men and women in every culture, in every age, in every walk of life…Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit; the Bible enlightens each individual to recognize personal sin, the need for salvation, and the best possible life course.”
For me the Bible is my anchor of my life. I believe if people truly want to grow in their faith and live a victorious in life than dusting off the Bible on the nightstand and opening it up is a necessity! In an older post called ★ Thought for the Day – All About the Big Ten ★, I wrote about the importance of knowing the whole Bible because of its relevance to our life. Check it out; it looks through the lens of the Ten Commandments.
6. What do you think is the greatest sin with respect to sins against others?
There are definitely sins that I believe are worse than others, rape, murder, child abuse to name a few but the Bible has something very different to say. In asking this question I asked if he were referring to the Ten Commandments or perhaps “The seven deadly sins” – Pride, Envy, Wrath, Gluttony, Lust, Sloth and Greed but regardless of what he was asking, there is a really easy answer that comes from Jesus’ little brother James where he said;
“For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. For the same God who said, “You must not commit adultery,” also said, “You must not murder.” So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law.
So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.” James 2:10-13 (NLT)
I will tell you what I told him, that I am truly honored that you have opened your heart for us to dialogue about God and to share with you what I have learned through the study of His Word. I will close with this final truth of Who is God and what do we mean to Him…James 1:16-18 (NLT)
“So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession.”
We are His prized possession and all God wants from us is a relationship with Him! Here is a blog I wrote that expands much deeper called…★ “Back to the Basics” – Religion vs. Relationship – Part 2 ★, would love to hear your thoughts!
Here are so follow-up resources…
★ “Tough question…How can a loving God send people to Hell” – Robert Morris
★ “Functional Faith” – Steven Furtick
Check back soon as we will be posting ★ “Back to the Basics” – Pursuit #2 – What Are You Feeding On? ★ that will continue our series of the 3 Pursuits that will lead to a successful life!
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