At the end of the age, Jesus says that God’s angels will come into the world and separate the wheat and tares. The wheat will be preserved while the weeds are bundled together and thrown into the fire.
Jesus includes the phrase ‘Whoever has ears to hear let him hear’. This is significant because he is giving a message that people do not want to hear.
We may concede that there is a Devil who opposes God. We may recognize that there are desperately wicked people in the world that need to justly punished and restricted. But, we may not want to hear that God would actually condemn someone to Hell. Eternal judgment is where we would like a softer God to prevail, especially if we are at risk of going there.
No matter what our opinions of God are, Jesus consistently taught that there is a judgment at the end of time. God will separate wheat and tares, sheep and goats, righteous and condemned. Some will enter God’s Kingdom while others are banished forever from His presence.
The primary disagreement that people have with God sending people to Hell is a perceived inconsistency with His nature of Love. How can a loving God punish someone eternally for not accepting His Salvation?
The problem with the question is that we focus on God’s action and disregard the true nature of our own behavior and response to God. We would rather question God’s integrity than our own.
Matthew Henry said, ‘There shall be weeping, and gnashing of teeth-- comfortless sorrow, and an incurable indignation at God, themselves, and one another, will be the endless torture of damned souls. Let us therefore, knowing these terrors of the Lord, be persuaded not to do iniquity.’ [i]
In the end there are people that will not be cured of their indignation toward God, themselves and one another. These people do not belong with God or His family.
By trying to deny the plausibility of Hell, we minimize the true consequence of sin. Sin hurts you in the end. God knows that and is willing that no one perish. But if we will not come by faith to receive His Salvation, what other option is there? We know we cannot save ourselves. We are foolish to think that we can talk God out of the long foretold consequences of rejecting His Salvation.
Instead of questioning God’s Love, maybe we should hear the warning of Hell and turn quickly to be saved from it. We have a hard time accepting that some people do not want to be saved in the slightest. There are many who take the Law of God into their own hands and set themselves to be the Judge. Why do we think anyone can get away with that?
If we are to see God’s Love in Hell, it is His insistence that each has the freedom to turn away from Him. No one is beyond the opportunity to enter the Kingdom. Love allows the other to reject and turn away. Love warns that doing so will be destructive and painful, but will not stop a heart bent on going its own way. I do not like this one bit, but I must concede that it is true.
On the other hand Jesus tells us that those God saves will shine like the stars. Abraham was promised that God’s family would be as numerous as the stars or the grains of sand along the beach. Even though it is a narrow road of Salvation, there is a countless multitude that will receive this inheritance.
You may be persecuted, harassed and troubled on every side. But, your time will come to shine. The end is coming. I hope you are watching for the God who saves.