Guided Discussion

How can God send people to hell?

Discuss Together

  • Has coming to grips with an uncomfortable truth ever provided you motivation to make big changes at some point in your life? Did it have something to do with your health, a relationship, your purpose, or career path? Share with the group.
  • Hell is an uncomfortable thing to talk about and we all wrestle with it in different ways. Is hell something you find unrealistic, unfair, understandable, or confusing? Why?
  • One of the times Jesus talked about hell is found in Matthew 25:31-46. Read the whole passage together. What can we learn about it from Jesus? What questions does it raise for you?
  • There are lots of images used to describe hell in the Bible: darkness, fire, weeping, and gnashing of teeth. Do you think these images are real or symbolic? How are we to understand what hell is actually like?
  • A challenging question many ask is, “How could a loving God have a hell that people go to?” If someone asked you that question, how would you respond? Is that a question you’ve asked?
  • Jeff said that hell is not some eternal torture chamber that God constructed to inflict pain on those He doesn’t like. Hell is essentially a place where God is not. How have you seen people choose isolation from God over connection to Him? How are people in a sense choosing hell even right now today?
  • Jeff shared that when discussing hell, it is helpful to remember three things: 1) God is a just judge; 2) God is a loving Savior; and 3) God is a grieving Father. Do you find one of these ideas especially helpful or intriguing in this conversation?
  • Read Romans 8:1-4 and Isaiah 53:1-4. How does the reality of hell impact how we see what Jesus did at the cross? How does it change the way you’ll live this week?

Next Steps

If you would like to read, think, and discuss more about this subject, take a look at a blog by pastor and author Timothy Keller called, “The Importance of Hell.” In it he mentions a fascinating quote from C.S. Lewis where he says, “Hell begins with a grumbling mood, always complaining, always blaming others…but you are still distinct from it. You may even criticize it in yourself and wish you could stop it. But there may come a day when you can no longer. Then there will be no you left to criticize the mood or even to enjoy it, but just the grumble itself, going on forever like a machine. It is not a question of God ‘sending us’ to hell. In each of us there is something growing, which will BE hell unless it is nipped in the bud.”

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