Believe it or not the above question has an incredibly simple answer, but the things you have to understand to grasp it are not so easy. Let us start with a question.
What if a man were to rape and murder a woman, for which he is sentenced to life in prison; but after seven years he is paroled for one reason or another.
This same man then turns his life around and feeds the hungry, shelters the homeless and works tirelessly for good causes.
Should he go to heaven? Do you think that the dead woman’s parents and loved ones would agree with your decision?
Go a little farther, what if the dead woman is African, Mexican, Brazilian, or Asian? Does that change your opinion of this man? Careful, only approved bigotry is tolerated in a politically correct world.
So, what if I disagree with your opinion, or her parents, or a hundred others? What if my one hundred backers come up against your two hundred backers, do numbers count?
It is fortunate that we do not have to make those kinds of decisions; it is God’s heaven, God’s rules.
Interestingly enough though it is each individuals job to select his final destination, be it heaven or hell.
In this you are completely free to choose; I might add regardless as to whether you are, African, Mexican, Brazilian, Asian even white. Even a murderer!
If you are too lazy or just cannot be bothered with such decisions, remember this, the default is always hell.
Perhaps you have seen the little cartoons of a great white throne with God sitting on it in judgment and all of mankind writhing in agony before it?
If you have then you need to know that this scene is only partially true and that the error is a grave one.
The thing wrong with these judgment day pictures is that all of mankind will not be standing before this great white throne, just those who elected to be there and those who negligently put off the selection of their final home.
The reason people think that all mankind will be before the great white throne on judgment day is they are under the impression that when we come before God on that day He weighs our good deeds against our bad deeds, and if the good outweighs the bad, bingo we are in.
There are Biblical references that seem to indicate that heaven is gained by works, these are taken out of context and the ones that guarantee that simple faith in what God has provided for salvation are far more numerous and crystal clear as to their meaning.
“And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” Joel 2:32a.
God has provided a way of entering heaven without the need to make sure that you are always doing something for God. In fact He tells us that all our righteous deeds are as filthy rags to Him.
“But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Isaiah 64:6.
Why such a harsh assessment, after all if a person is sincere and doing their best shouldn’t that count?
A couple of reasons why our righteous deeds are accounted as filthy rags are first off that God is so holy that there is no possibility of meeting His criterion for righteousness.
Let me rephrase that, it is absolutely impossible for any of us to meet God’s requirement for righteousness, there are no exceptions.
Another reason our works are considered filthy rags is that God does not ask us to work our way to heaven, He asks us to accept the sacrifice of His Son Jesus as payment for our sins.
To ignore this and try to work your way to heaven anyway is just more rebellion, that is to say, sin.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9.
This whole faith in Jesus process is clearly taught throughout the Bible. The fact that Christ died, was buried and rose again as payment for our sin is what is called the gospel or good news.
“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures…” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.
This good news is not limited to that fact that the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin and makes us fit to enter God’s presence in heaven and rescues us from an eternity of torment in hell, but the power of the shed blood of Christ guarantees an eternal life beginning right now.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.
Notice those last three words, “have [present tense] everlasting life”, the everlasting life starts when a person accepts Christ as savior.
You will also note that you are not instructed to go out and do a bunch of God works to stay saved.
Too many Christians are working for something they already have instead of seeking a closer relationship with the Lord Jesus.
So let us see if we can come to a better understanding of the problem of the holiness of God and the righteousness of man.
Assume for a moment that it is Mother’s day and on a certain farm the father and young daughter wish to honor mother in a special way, so they tell the mother to relax today and they will do all the chores around the farm, including hers.
Well this is too good to turn down, so mother goes in and takes a hot bubble bath, puts on her favorite nightgown and with a cup of tea and a good book she goes in and lies down in bed.
A couple of hours pass and being absorbed in her book she hears her daughter call out, “Mommy the chores are done, may I get in bed with you?” “Why yes dear”, she replies as she looks up, “Whoa! What happened to you?”
“Oh, I was slopping the hogs when I fell in the mud, may I get in bed with you?” “Of course dear, but first go take a bath.” “No mommy”, she replies “I want to lie down with you now.”
“Look, I will tell you what, come into the bathroom and I will wash you off myself.” “No mommy, please, I want to lie down with you now!”
This is a poor example, but there are some things we can learn by it. If the mother lets the child get into bed with her covered with filth there is no way she will be as comfortable as she was before.
Now, this is important, no matter whether the child washes or not the mother will not cease to love her with all her heart!
The holiness of God and pig filth is a poor example, but it shows that God could never be comfortable with sin in His presence nor would heaven be heaven with such corruption inhabiting it.
Remember this too, God loves you and me more than the mother in our illustration could ever love her daughter.
Scripture teaches us that God is infinitely holy and it tells us that God is love. How then can He reconcile these two things so we can come into His presence?
“…the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7b.
Having examined the escape clause let us now look over some of the aspects of hell itself. Technically hell is a temporary holding tank reserving the unsaved for the Day of Judgment. This miserable place is located inside the earth and is a place of weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth.
However on judgment day all the occupants of hell will stand before the judge of all the earth, His name is Jesus Christ.
“For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.” John 5:26-27.
Because Jesus, God the Son, lived life on this earth as a man, He has the right as a man to pass judgment upon those who have experienced the same difficulties and temptations as He.
Christ was given a shovel and pushed into the trenches with the rest of us. He shoveled mud, hardpan earth, sweated and got calluses with the rest of us, who better to judge us. And His judgment will be righteous fair and without partiality.
“[and those who stand before Him will be cast] into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels”, Matthew 25:41b.
Yes you read that correctly, the lake of fire was created for the devil and his angels. Not one human being has ever had to go into the lake of fire, because it was created for the devil. Men will find themselves there for their own willful ignorance or their love of wrongdoing.
About the lake of fire; in his book, “Things to Come”, J. Dwight Pentecost tells us that the above statement in Matthew is actually present tense, meaning that the lake of fire was in existence at the time the Lord spoke of it some two thousand years ago.
He then goes on to theorize that the lake of fire may even be a dwarf star. Now this book was printed in 1958, so the science may be dated but the description of the star is chilling.
As shown in the book the characteristics of a dwarf star are extreme density and a temperature of about 30 million degrees Fahrenheit. These properties are enough to burst atoms stripping them of their electrons and create a sea of liquid fire, see chapter 32, “The Preparation for the Eternal Kingdom”.
The upshot is this, at 30 million degrees the question of heat becomes moot and at the risk of misinterpreting Scripture I would like to say that while it will be a horrifying place the heat of the lake of fire, is not what will make this the terrifying place that the Lord Jesus describes in Mark 9.
“where ‘their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’” Mark 9:44, 46, 48.
It has been suggested that their worm is the conscience which is constantly active, while the fire which surrounds them is the real thing.
To bring this all together, the lake of fire is a huge prison designed to hold the devil and his angels for eternity and for one reason or another rebellious men have elected to join him.
Why does this have to be this way? The answer is simple. When a person rejects God, they reject all of Him.
Big deal, men live without God all the time here on earth!
No, no, no, God is omnipresent, He is with us at all times, we may not feel His presence but He is here, He is next to you right now and as it says in Proverbs 5.
“For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths.” Proverbs 5:21.
God ponders all your ways, you never leave His mind and as it says in Acts 17.
“And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us…” Acts 17:26-27.
Notice that last phrase, “He is not far from each one of us”, He is next to you waiting to embrace you as His little child, yet mankind has spent the last six thousand years fleeing from Him. However no one has ever experienced the total absence of God.
The total absence of God means something else too; God is the creator of everything, that means that there will be an absence of the things He created, such as love, dignity, fellowship, hope, and beauty (both hidden and outward).
Nor will there be music, art, or activities to exercise the body or expand the mind.
In the lake of fire a person will no longer experience the love of a mother and child, husband and wife or that of the family dog for that matter, think of the torment of a loveless eternity.
Without God, man loses his dignity. You can see some of this in our day as men, women and children were loaded into cattle cars to be transported to gas chambers and finally loaded into ovens for cremation, by godless men.
God gives us dignity. There will be no fellowship in the lake of fire, no card games with beer and pretzels, ever. There will be no hope of leaving that awful place, ever.
There will be no beauty either of men or women, nor will there be any rivers and valleys green grass or luxuriant cool trees, nothing beautiful, ever.
And the hidden beauty of the heart will turn to ashes as the utter sense of loss captivates a persons being; never a kind face ever.
Lastly, there will be nothing left but the conscience constantly dredging up horrifying thoughts of the things done in life, bringing about a continual sense of shame and humiliation over their lives, and worse yet the relentless reminder that all they had to do was accept Jesus Christ as their savior.
Instead they mocked Him and His messengers and trampled the blood of Christ under foot as though it had no value at all.
God gives everyone the freedom to choose. What will you do with God’s Son?
Why Would a Good God Send a Person To Hell? taken from godisrevealed.com posted on 11-5-15, updated on 8-19-19.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”