I’ve heard a lot of talk lately about whether or not God sends people to Hell. Most of the discussion seems based on a “What Would Jesus Do” concept rather than on what the Bible actually says. It’s dangerous to assume what Jesus would do without referring to what He really did. The bulk of people that go to church on a regular basis nowadays are moving further and further from the Truth of God’s Word and are busy conjuring up a God in their minds that they are more comfortable with. But let’s assume, as people are saying that God doesn’t send people to Hell – that a person sends themselves to Hell by their own decision to reject Jesus as their Savior. While I definitely believe we have to take responsibility for where we end up in eternity the fact still remains that Hell was created by God for His own purpose. And His purposes are ALWAYS just and true (Revelation 16:7). So let’s not assume what Jesus would do but let’s take a look at what the Bible actually says.
Revelation 20 describes the Day of Judgment. On this Day every unbeliever from all of history will stand before the throne of God and will be judged.
Look at Revelation 20:12-15:
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
The New Testament use of the word Hades refers to the place where the wicked are held until final judgment. Luke 16:24 indicates that this place is a place of torment. On the Day of Judgment God will cause all the people in this place of torment to be resurrected and to stand before the Throne of God. Jesus took the punishment for every one of these people but they forfeited the free gift of salvation through faith in His Name because they loved their sin more than the light of God’s plan of redemption (John 3:19). How these people ended up in the initial place of torment we could debate — but in the end God Himself will cast all the billions upon billions of people who never came to faith in Christ Jesus into a lake which burns with fire.
So the answer is Yes, God does send people to Hell. Jesus said that He personally would reject many people on the Day of Judgment who thought that they were saved (Matthew 7:21-23). Jesus also said “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).
Why debate this subject at all? There’s an epidemic in the western world. Never in the history of mankind has there been a greater percentage of people who call themselves Christians and yet bear little or no fruit. In fact most of them live lives completely contrary to Biblical Christianity. These people want a free pass into Heaven but they don’t care about having a genuine relationship with God and being a Christian is all about knowing God.
Look what John the Baptist told the religious hypocrites of His day:
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, 9 and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10 And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 3:7-10 also see Matthew 23:13-33)
Can you imagine someone like John the Baptist showing up today (minus the camels hair and locusts of course) and confronting religious hypocrites like he did? He’d be labeled judgmental and legalistic at best (and maybe by you). But what you might not understand is that John’s motivation was love. He hoped to wake up those that were asleep and unaware of their impending judgment. We desperately need many “John the Baptists” to rise up in our day to confront supposed Christians of their fruitlessness and hopefully see them truly come to Christ before it’s too late.