After coming across some video clips from this sermon on YouTube, I decided to download the whole thing and listen to it on my iPod. I was stunned when once again my exact question was asked and answered. I knew God was speaking to me, giving me more grace than I deserve. And once again, the question of the goodness of God comes up, and Driscoll says that He is good. It was as if God was speaking to me and saying, "I am good."
And at the end, Driscoll reminds us - begs us - not to judge God because that is how this whole mess got started way back in Genesis. And isn't that what I am doing - the same thing as Adam and Eve - judging that God is not good?
Thank You, Father, for using this to teach me about Yourself. For all of you reading, enjoy. If you want to hear the entire sermon, you will find the links below.
Mars Hill Church – Seattle, WA
Pastor Mark Driscoll
Luke, Part 68 – Heaven and Hell
March 20, 2011
This is a (very) slightly edited transcript from his sermon from 39:20 – 44:55 and 45:35 -47:22. For the full sermon go to http://www.marshillchurch.org/media/luke/heaven-and-hell.
"Why would God make people who will permanently remain His enemies? Why does God create certain people when He knows that their only future is to be tortured for all eternity?"
There is much to be said here. First of all, people go to hell because they reject Jesus. They reject the general revelation that God gives to all humanity. They reject the common grace that God bestows upon them. Furthermore, they have to reject their conscience that God has placed within them, as well as any special revelation that He has brought to them. We are in no way innocent. We are not.
Additionally, when God was finished with His work in Genesis 1:31, making the earth and our first parents, giving us life, breath, and creation as a gift, He declared it all to be very good. There was no sin. There was no suffering. There was no sickness. There was no death. We sinned. We rebelled. We declared war. We ruined everything. It is our fault, friends. It is my fault. It is your fault. It is our fault. This is not the world as God made it. This is the world as we have corrupted it.
Additionally, it makes perfect sense to me that a convicted criminal goes to prison...That makes perfect sense. Similarly, it makes perfect sense that a condemned sinner goes to hell. That makes sense. What is astonishing is that God would become a man to live in the world as we have destroyed it, that God would endure poverty, that God would endure humiliation, that God would endure opposition and betrayal, that God Himself would be arrested and falsely accused and beaten and crucified, which is the most shameful and wretched and painful of deaths, and that He would cry out "Forgive them!" and that He would die in our place, for our sins, as our substitute, and that He would taste the hell that we deserve. And Jesus states this when He cries out from the cross, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?" That the Father turned His back on the Son and that the wrath of God was poured out on Jesus so that it might be propitiated or diverted from us...That is the miracle, that is the great exchange, that is the love of God.
Additionally, I would beg you, not to judge God. Do not judge God. We have three pound, fallen brains. We have sinful dispositions and inclinations. We have only been around for a few short years. We are not all-seeing, we are not all-knowing, and for us to sit on a throne, even if it is an academic throne propped up by footnotes, asking the Creator of heaven and earth to pass before us that we might render a verdict regarding His holiness and justice is how all the trouble began in the first place.
That Satan came to our first parents asking a few questions about the character of God, inviting them to judge Him. Dear friend, we are in no position to judge God. We are to trust God, not judge God because we are not God. You are not God. God is good and God is loving and God is merciful and God is kind and God is just and God is holy and God is righteous, and whatever God does is good and it is glorious.
...I feel the Holy Sprit bringing to mind one point He would like me to make as well on the previous question of why would God make people knowing they’re going to hell, why would He create hell for them. In fact, the Holy Spirit wants me to tell you that in Matthew 25:41 Jesus says that hell was made for the devil and his angels. The devil and his angels, Satan and his angels, spirit beings, they rebelled against God and there is no possibility of salvation for Satan and demons. Jesus did not go to the cross to die in their place, atoning for their sins, securing their salvation. Satan and demons have no opportunity of salvation, only damnation. And Jesus says in Matthew 25:41 that hell was made for the devil and his angels. We choose to go there when we reject Him. In the same way, a prison was made for criminals. We don’t need to go there unless we choose to become a criminal…I’m telling you today, you need not go (to hell). Trust in Jesus...Hell was made for the devil and his angels.