2Peter 3:9 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. God is not willing than any should perish.
How could a loving God send a person to hell? The answer lies in how seriously God takes sin. You cannot comprehend in your finite mind how infinitely offensive your sin is to an infinitely holy God.
A few years ago I had the opportunity to lead an all-day parenting seminar at a local church. I spent hours pouring out everything I had learned from God’s Word about how to motivate children to obey with a right attitude every time. The attendees listened eagerly as I shared proven techniques of imparting wisdom through patient instruction and extracting foolishness through loving correction. I shared personal examples of how my 3-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son had become so compliant and obedient in response to my tireless investment in their lives.
When the seminar was over, I walk out of the church to find my 2 precious angels having the most wonderful time in the parking lot throwing large rocks onto the hood of a beautiful new Buick owned by one of the attendees.
The innocent smiles on their faces revealed they had no comprehension of how much damage they were doing. Apart from the cost to repair the paint they had scratched, they had just undone everything I was attempting to communicate about parenting. What they thought was a fun way to spend the afternoon was actually invalidating my message and compromising my character as a father.
Like my children, we are clueless as to how offensive our sin is to God. By our hypocrisy, we can invalidate the message those far from God need to hear and believe. What we consider playing around, God views as a compromise of his infinite holiness. And infinite holiness has an infinite price tag when violated.
So how do you suppose I should deal with my little Buick terrorists? I could demand justice from my children. “New paint job…$1000! Pay up! Now!” But they have no ability to pay. I could extend mercy, “At least you weren’t throwing hand grenades. I’ll delay payment. But you are going to work it off.” That would take too long. Or I could give grace. “You are broke, but loved. The damage you’ve caused will cost me but I will pay your debt out of my own resources.” They would be wise to receive the grace freely offered by a loving father.
Hell is reserved for those who reject God’s infinite grace to pay the infinite price for infinitely offensive sin.
A better question than the one we started with is, “Why would a person choose to pay the price for sin in Hell when grace is freely offered by a loving God?”
Trent Griffith serves as the Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel in Granger, Indiana and is an experienced conference speaker.
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