“How can a loving God send anyone to hell?” This is usually asked as a rhetorical question. The questioner thinks that the answer is of two possibilities: 1. God is loving, so no one will go to hell. 2. People go to hell, so God is not loving.

The assumption is that a loving God cannot send people to hell. However, there is a much more difficult question: How can a justGod let anyone into heaven?

God can bring us to heaven because He is both just andloving:

“But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God will give to each person according to what he has done” (Romans 2:5-6).

That is God’s justice.

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8).

That is God’s love.

“But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:21-26).

God is both just and the one who justifies (the forgiver). He took my sins on the cross, and I received His righteousness.

This post coordinates with today’s reading in the To the Word! Bible Reading Challenge. If you are not in a daily reading plan, please join us. We would love to have you reading with us.