I saw a video the other day of a young lady who was dissatisfied with the notion of the God of the Bible, to say the least. Most, if not all, of her short videos are geared towards spreading this dissatisfaction to the far reaches of social media. In this particular video she was saying, with the smug satisfaction of someone who believes they’ve found the kryptonite that atheists have been searching for over the course 2000 years, “The same God that tells you to love your enemies condemns his to Hell for eternity.”
I have to tell you this one got to me a little bit. I don’t know if it was because of the arrogant nature of the delivery, or if I was simply angry at someone questioning the goodness and righteousness of God’s character. Either way, it got my blood pressure up just a wee bit. The list of stinging comments that I desired to post on the video came streaming into my mind, but I am simply not one to wade into the cesspool of internet comments. Then I decided it might be more beneficial and, indeed, edifying to actually consider a proper response. If I am so upset that what she said cannot be true, why? How can Christians answer these types of questions? The world is asking them and, like it or not, people like this young lady have easy access to a platform. So, even if we know what she is saying is just blatantly wrong, our kids may not, and social media is where they are getting an enormous amount of their (mis)information, opinions, and values. So…
Assertion: “The same God that tells you to love your enemies, condemns his to Hell for eternity.”
Response: “Why don’t you go there and find out for me, you lousy, no-good… wait that’s not it.”
First and foremost, we need to understand that Jesus told his followers to love their enemies because it is in that expression of undeserved love that people see the unmerited favor that God extends to them as a result of what Jesus has done on the cross. In loving our enemies we are acting out the gospel because we were all once enemies of God before we were saved. Therefore, loving our enemies has an evangelistic element to it. We love our enemies because we simply don’t know who might wind up being our brother or sister. We love our enemies because God first loved us - his enemies.
Secondly, we love our enemies because we should know, better than anyone, “but by the grace of God there go I.” We love our enemies because in the grand scheme of things we are no better than they are. We are, all of us, equally deserving of the Hell that God reserves for his enemies. We are the chiefest of sinners.
Thirdly, we love our enemies precisely because we are not God, we are not omniscient, and nine times out of ten we’re going to get it wrong. This is at least part of the reason why we do not get to condemn people to Hell. That unenviable task is reserved for God who will never, ever send someone there who didn’t deserve it. There is a massive difference between human beings treating each other with contempt and hatred, and God dispensing righteous justice at the conclusion of history. The harsh reality is that even on the worst day all of us receive more of the grace and mercy of God than we deserve. In truth, even God’s enemies are experiencing his love and compassion on a daily basis whether they acknowledge it or not. Each day that the rebel wakes up, draws breath, and lives in God’s world is another merciful opportunity to repent and believe, and avoid the horrors of Hell.
Fourth, even by the world’s definition God does love his enemies even when he condemns them to Hell. Our current culture has made “love” - letting people do what they want, and giving them exactly what they want. C.S Lewis says that in the end people are either going to say to God, “Thy will be done,” or, if they remain in rebellion to him, he says to them, “Thy will be done.” You are either going to desire to spend a blissful eternity with, and under the authority of, the God of Heaven, or you desire to have nothing to do with him. Either way, you get exactly what you want. By our culture’s standard…that is love.
So, to the young lady in the video - God does love his enemies because you can’t have heaven without him, and being forced into the presence of a being you abhor for all eternity would be hell, so he grants his enemies exactly what they want, an eternity separated from his manifold blessings, mercy, and grace.
Soli Deo Gloria,