Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Here's a question: If God is love, why does He torture and torment the lost people, if even for a little while rather than for eternity? Isn't there a more humane way to solve His problem of what to do with the lost at last?
Well, God hasn't asked us to tell Him what to do, but there are several truths about it in the Bible that seem clear:
(1) Yes, "God is love" (1 John 4:8). Always, even in the judgment.
(2) He never intended that any human being get into the lake of fire (Matt. 25:41). Those who at last get there do so because that's what they have chosen (Prov. 8:36; Jer. 8:3; Ezek. 18:25-32).
(3) It is sin that pays its own wages, not God (Rom. 6:23, Good News Bible).
(4) The Father has washed His hands of all judgment of the lost. He will condemn no one (John 5:22).
(5) Jesus says likewise He will not condemn the lost; the only ones whom He agrees to "judge" are those who believe in Him and He will vindicate them (John 12:47, 48).
(6) He came to reverse the condemnation that Adam brought upon "all men" and the lost are those who threw away the "verdict of acquittal" which He gave them and they take back upon themselves the "condemnation" which He had borne for them (Rom. 3 and 5; Isa. 53:6ff.).
(7) The real pain of the second death will be the final judgment that the lost themselves have caused to be written in "the books" (Rev 20:12-14). Every cell of their being will be as on fire with self-condemnation as they at last realize what they have done--they have repeated the sin of Esau who had the birthright but "despised" it and "sold" it for a mere trifle of worldly pleasure (Gen. 25:34; Heb. 12:16). They will welcome the actual "lake of fire" that ends their misery.
What a blessing if we can realize the truth about the character of God now, rather than wait until the end of "the thousand years" of Revelation 20. It's serious business, this believing that "God is love." We can resist it and not realize what we're doing until too late. (Jesus said that even those who crucified Him didn't know what they were doing, Luke 23:34.)
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: January 17, 2001.
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