God is love and love gives out punishment that is redemptive in nature. The penalties that love imposes seek the betterment of all concerned, including the guilty party. If the teacher tells me to write one hundred times on the board, “Don’t talk during class,” that teacher is prodding me to a better behavior. The words should make me think. Even if they don’t, the sheer tedium of the task ought to induce me to shut up more often. Likewise, the punishments God gives out have our betterment in view.
If people were beating on the doors of an eternal afterlife of hell, pleading for God’s mercy, the first thing He’d do is open the doors. He’d have gotten their attention, and that’s one of the goals of a good punishment. To leave people crying and frying would be heartless, vindictive, and without redeeming purpose.
Hell occurs in this life. It is comprised of the judgments that come in response to sin. Some people have such hardened hearts that even these judgments do not work as a wake-up call. Nonetheless, sleeping through an alarm clock does not change the purpose of the alarm clock. Therefore, let us wake up and repent.
Bible notes on this post.
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