On this Good Friday, we remember what Jesus did for us in becoming our sin, and also taking the judgment that we should pay for our personal sins. Because Jesus paid our sin debt before a Holy God by becoming our sin and going to hell in our place, we can be free from fear of death, and we can accept His sin payment as our ours by repenting and choosing to turn away from our sin, and by accepting His sin payment for us. This is amazing love!
Isaiah 53:6-11 (NLT)
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on Him the sins of us all. 7 He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet He never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, He did not open His mouth. 8 Unjustly condemned, He was led away. No one cared that He died without descendants, that His life was cut short in midstream. But He was struck down for the rebellion of my people. 9 He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But He was buried like a criminal; He was put in a rich man’s grave. 10 But it was the LORD’s good plan to crush Him and cause Him grief. Yet when His life is made an offering for sin, He will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the LORD’s good plan will prosper in His hands. 11 When he sees all that is accomplished by His anguish, He will be satisfied. And because of His experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for He will bear all their sins.
Matthew 12:40 (NLT)
For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.
Acts 2:25-27, 31 (NKJV)
For David says concerning Him: I foresaw the LORD always before my face, For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. 27 For You will not leave My soul in Hades, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption...he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.
Ephesians 4:7-10 (NKJV)
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.” 9 (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
These and other scripture reveal that when Jesus died, He went to hell, and stayed there, revealing Himself to all the Old Testament saints who were in the righteous side of hell, who were awaiting the Lamb of God’s arrival so that they could be cleansed of sin and go on to heaven. They were raised from the dead when Jesus was, and received their glorified bodies when Jesus received His, appearing to many in Jerusalem, and then going on to heaven as Jesus did in the ascension - Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, 52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many (Matthew 27:51-53-NKJV).
When God was satisfied that the sin debt of every human that will ever be born has been judicially borne by Jesus the Christ, Jesus was raised from the dead by God. This means that when we accept Jesus as Savior, His sin sacrifice becomes our own, and we can be born again, and we can enter heaven when we die.
Hell is only for those who in their self-righteousness and pride, think that they can go to heaven based only on God’s love and their performance. Read carefully the rest of this article:
The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:13-15)
Many people simply can’t correlate the scriptural teaching of hell with a loving God. How can God allow people to suffer such a horrible fate if He really loves them?
Many people surmise their own idea of who God the Father is and what He is like from their own thinking and from their own experiences. But we must go to Word to understand God. It may take our finite minds eternity to explore all of His ways and understand the infinite God completely!
Notice Psalm 50:16-21: But to the wicked God says: "What right have you to declare My statutes, Or take My covenant in your mouth, seeing you hate instruction and cast My words behind you? When you saw a thief, you consented with him, and have been a partaker with adulterers. You give your mouth to evil, and your tongue frames deceit. You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother's son. These things you have done, and I kept silent; you thought that I was altogether like you; but I will rebuke you, and set them in order before your eyes.
One part of God’s character is justice. Psalm 89:14 reveals: Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; mercy and truth go before Your face. His love for us is based on justice. God cannot forgive sin just because He loves us. If that were so, then why did Jesus go to the cross? Why did Jesus have to come as the incarnate Son of God if God could simply forgive the sin of mankind? God’s forgiveness of our sin must be just and fair. He can’t break the rules He set up to govern the universe. That would disqualify Him from being God. God’s love is based upon His justice.
God must be just to His own moral law; He must be just to His enemy Satan; and He must be just to man. Our redemption is amazing. Satan never thought that God would go to such an extreme to redeem us from hell. For God to be just, even towards His enemy Satan, He must deal with sin properly. Every sin must be judged. It must have a just, legal payment. When Satan succeeded in his scheme to cause man to sin, he thought that mankind would end up with his own judgment, hell, and that there was no way God could justly set mankind free from this penalty. But Satan miscalculated the love of God for us!
In redeeming us, God assumed the liability for our wrongdoing, and chose to pay the just penalty for sin for us! The penalty for eternal spirit rebels is incarceration in hell and then the final judgment of the lake of fire! When Jesus went to hell for us and legally paid our sin debt, the indictment for sin was removed from us, and the trial date canceled!
Now, every person who accepts Jesus Christ’s legal payment for their sin by bowing their knee to Him can be set free from sin and its eternal penalty. Now that is amazing love!
The sad part is that those who refuse Jesus just and legal payment for their sin must endure the sentencing at the great white throne judgment and eventually be placed in the lake of fire. Those who seek their own way in life without bowing their knee to the Son of God in obedience and faith in Him must bear their own sin and its penalty. We have an obligation to tell the sinner that God has canceled their sin debt in Christ and that they do not have to go to hell!
If a person chooses to refuse Jesus’ eternal sacrifice, then God has an obligation to His own just to allow them to go to hell even though He loves them so.
Let’s wake up to our responsibilities today to share this good news with those we come in contact with. Ask the Father to open up conversations about their eternal destiny with the people you associate with today. Their eternal well being is at stake!