What do we make of the death penalty?
If we knew with absolute certainty that an individual was guilty of a heinous, premeditated, murder would the death penalty by just?
What do we make of an eternal "death penalty?" Is there really a place called hell, a lake of fire that burns forever into which God consigns the wicked?
What kind of life and person deserves that stern sentence?
What sin deserves the punishment of hell?
Is it possible that any of us deserve hell?
God's justice/righteousness: God always acts in accordance with what is right and is Himself the final standard of what is right. Wayne Grudem, Bible Doctrine
1. Judgment & God's Character
Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?"
Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise.
The third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of water, and they became blood. And I heard the angel in charge of the waters say, "Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was, for you brought these judgments. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink. It is what they deserve!"
2. Judgment & God's Standards
Has God given us His righteous standards? How do we know what God expects of us?
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
Wrath = Overflowing anger, indignation, violent emotion.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed.
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord."
God gave us ten "words" to follow, knowing that we would not be able to - but He had a plan for that.
Will any of us ever perfectly keep God's standards?
The perfection of God's own character requires that He judge our sin.
3. Judgment & Man's Glory
Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man."Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.
The glory of our nature in the image of God requires that God hold us accountable for our sins.
4. Judgment & God's Glory
Because God is perfect in all He does when God judges He does so perfectly and displays His glory in the perfection of His judgments.
The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.
For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe.
But the Lord sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice, and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with uprightness.
But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.
And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, "See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast."' But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.' And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests. "But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, 'Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, 'Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
5. Judgment & Our Substitute
Who deserves hell? EVERYONE!
If God judges us righteously we all are separated from Him forever, in the lake of fire, the second death, where our sins are punished appropriately, forever.
Thankfully, God has made a way for guilty sinners who deserve punishment to be pardoned and to stand in God's presence in His own perfect righteousness.
2 Corinthians 5:21
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
-Have I acknowledged that my sins deserve God's judgement?
-Have I agreed with God that even sins I consider minor provoke his righteous wrath?
-Have I embraced in Jesus Christ a Substitute who has adequately taken on all God's righteous judgment for my sin?
-If yes, am I humbly, profusely, thanking Him everyday that Jesus took the judgment I deserved?
-Am I living as one who has been forgiven much?
-Am I quick to forgive others as I've been forgiven?
-Am I quick to share with others under God's righteous wrath the way of escape in Jesus?
God can no more be "blamed" for His holiness and the necessity of judging sin and putting it away forever in hell the he can be "blamed" for His glory, or His omniscience, or His beauty, or His goodness, and on and on. God is holy. And because He is, He cannot ultimately endure sin. He must put it away and He will.