Hell: Isn’t the God of Christianity an Angry Judge? – Gospel in Life

Hell: Isn’t the God of Christianity an Angry Judge?

Tim Keller |  October 22, 2006

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  • Doctrine
  • Heaven and Hell
Luke 16:19-31
RS 192-5


Every week, we’re taking one of the things that in our culture troubles people the most about Christianity. We’re now going to look at the Christian teaching that God is a judge and a judge who consigns people to hell.

Someone says, “How can you possibly reconcile the concept of judgment and hell with the idea of a loving God? They just don’t go together.” What do we say about that? I’d like to argue that understanding what the Bible says about hell is crucial for understanding your own heart, for living in peace in the world, and for knowing the love of God.

Luke 16:19–31

This sermon dives into the tricky idea of God being a judge who sends souls to hell. Some people find it hard to match this with the idea of a kind and caring God. The Bible describes hell in a way that is more symbolic than literal, but it suggests a reality that is scarier than real fire. Understanding the Christian view of hell is important for knowing ourselves better, promoting peace worldwide, and truly feeling God’s love.

1. Understanding your own heart

The story of the rich man and Lazarus shows the importance of finding our identity in something more than money or possessions. The Bible says that sin is when we build our identity on anything but God, which can lead to problems like addiction, falling apart, and feeling alone. Hell is described as a place where people end up when they choose an identity that pulls them apart from the inside. This reminds us of the importance of knowing ourselves and recognizing the battles we fight in our spirits to keep our identity secure.

2. Living in peace in this world

Believing in hell helps keep peace in our lives. While some people worry that this belief could lead to harsh treatment and hatred, the Bible shows kindness towards those in hell through the character of Abraham. Plus, not believing in God’s judgment can actually lead to more violence and revenge. So, believing that God will take care of justice helps to prevent violence and ensure that justice is served.

3. Knowing the love of God

Many people think that God can’t be both judgmental and loving, but that’s not true. Real change of heart comes not from being scared of punishment, but from experiencing deep, unconditional love, like the love Jesus showed when he died on the cross. Understanding what the Bible says about hell is key to fully understanding just how much Jesus loves us. This understanding helps us live in peace with others, God, and ourselves.



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