The question always comes up when Christians think of hell “How will we be able to enjoy heaven if we know loved ones will be in hell?”. This is one of the hardest questions I get asked. Over at Christianity Today the great theologian J.I. Packer answers this question. Here is the main part of his answer:

Significantly, this is not a Bible problem; instead, Scripture rules out all thought of it ever becoming anyone’s problem. For it tells us that God the Father (who now pleads with mankind to accept the reconciliation that Christ’s death secured for all) and God the Son (our appointed Judge, who wept over Jerusalem) will in a final judgment express “wrath” and administer justice against rebellious humans. God’s holy righteousness will hereby be revealed; God will be doing the right thing, vindicating himself at last against all who have defied him, and there is no hint that this hurts the Judge more than it hurts the sinner. (Read through Matt. 25John 5:22-29;Rom. 2:5-1612:192 Thess. 1:7-9Rev. 18:1-19:320:11-35, and you will see that clearly.) God will judge justly, and all angels, saints, and martyrs will praise him for it. So it seems inescapable that we shall, with them, approve the judgment of persons—rebels—whom we have known and loved.


That sounds appalling; how can it be? Remember, in heaven our minds, hearts, motives, and feelings will be sanctified, so that we are fully conformed to the character and outlook of Jesus our Lord. This will happen at or before our bodily resurrection. How we shall then think and feel is really beyond our knowing, just as a chrysalis could not know what it feels like to be a butterfly till it becomes one.


But certainly the promise that God will wipe away every tear from believers’ eyes (Rev. 7:17) will find its fulfillment as one aspect of this transformation. In heaven, glorifying God and thanking him for everything will always absorb us. All our love for and joy in others who are with us in heaven will spring from their doing the same, and love and pity for hell’s occupants will not enter our hearts. Their hell will not veto our heaven.


What do you think of his answer. It rings true but still there is something in me that still hurts. Which may be the right response to thinking about hell and loved ones. We probably should feel pain, pain that moves us to act in love and to pray and tell the gospel.

Read the whole article here

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