Is Hell a hate crime? According to Great Britain, the answer is yes. A short while ago, a Baptist church in Norfolk posted a sign with fiery flames and a cheeky message which read “If you think there is no God you’d better be right!!” How was the sign received? Not well. Indeed, after one complaint, the Norfolk Police investigated. They officially recorded the episode as a “hate incident,” and the church agreed to take the sign down. Yet, despite the ruling of the Norfolk Police, the Bible is very clear about the reality of Hell. In fact, nobody spoke about Hell in the Bible more than Jesus.
After all, Jesus once warned “If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where “‘the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched’” (Mark 9:47-48). He also described Hell as a “blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:42). On another occasion, Jesus said “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). In other words, in the minds of the Norfolk Police, Jesus committed multiple “hate incidents.”
Regardless, many people believe in Heaven, but they tend to reject the existence of Hell. Obviously, Jesus spoke about both, so what gives? For the most part, they claim that since God is all about love, He couldn’t possibly sentence people to Hell. Certainly, God is love (1 John 4:8), but God is also holy (Revelation 4:8). He must punish sin, and everybody has sinned (Romans 3:23). The good news? Jesus died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). If we place our trust in Him for the forgiveness of our sins, we will be saved from the eternal punishment we’ve earned.
Of course, God wants everyone to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4), but He isn’t going to force anybody. That’s not loving. God respects a person’s decision to reject Him, and He gives them what they want: eternal separation from Him (Matthew 25:46). Why is Hell eternal? Well, a sin against an eternal, infinite God deserves an eternal, infinite punishment. We can do nothing to take away our sin, and God must punish sin. Since we could never pay our sin debt in full, our punishment could never stop. Jesus, the eternal and infinite Son of God, paid for our sin debt in full so we don’t have to. If you accept His death as the full payment for your sins, you have nothing to worry about.
Ultimately, the Bible is very clear about Hell. As a result, Christians warn people about it because we love them and want them to be saved. If that’s a hate crime, so be it.