One of the comments I hear about Christianity sometimes is that it's unjust that God would send so many people to hell – particularly those people who have never had an opportunity to hear about Jesus. One day while I was getting my teeth cleaned a few years back the hygienist started talking to me about her concern along the same lines. She had friends from an Asian country where Christianity isn't as prevalent in the culture. But her friends were good people who shouldn't have to spend eternity in hell simply because they never heard of Jesus. For my hygienist, it was easier for her to discount God's judgment and pretend that it's non-existent than to believe that someone whom she perceived to be a "good person" would ultimately suffer punishment.
That is certainly a heart-wrenching story, and it highlights what many of us have felt, at times. Particularly in reading Revelation, it's challenging to imagine the end times and the suffering that will (according to Revelation) take place. There are a couple of things that I think are worth pointing out here:
- The fact that we consider some people to be good and some to be not-good is an argument for God's existence. For there to be levels of morality or increments in morality implies that there is a moral scale of goodness and an absolute good and an absolute evil. Such a scale could only come into existence through God.
- God is just. In fact, because justice is part of God's nature, he can't be a little just or partially just – he is fully just. Not only is he fully just, but he is never not just. He can't stop being anything because God is unchanging.
- God is also love. Similar to his justice, his love is complete and full, and he can't ever be not-loving because to be God is to be love. God's love was the motivation to send Jesus to die on the behalves of sinners (i.e. the whole world). He knew that his justice demanded death for sins, but his love made a way for people to be made right before him.
- Good people don't go to heaven any more than bad people go to hell. From God's perspective he sees a moral situation, and there are no good people because all fall short of his perfection.
- All people who get to heaven get there the same way – through Christ's payment for sins. No one can behave his or her way in because no behavior could ever be good enough. Forgiven people go to heaven and escape God’s wrath.
- There is no more fair way of saving people. I tread lightly here because God isn't obligated to be fair; He is obligated to be just. Nonetheless, what could be fairer than everyone getting into heaven the same way? What matters most about a person isn't how good or bad he or she is but whether or not he or she is trusting in Jesus' death on the cross for the forgiveness of sins.
Have you leaned your entire life into trusting that what Jesus did on the cross is sufficient for your salvation? If you haven't made that decision, I would love to talk with you more about it.