Lesson Two
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Lesson Two

At the end of the last lesson, you were left in a dilemma. You either had to believe that God loves everybody, Jesus died for everybody, and that everybody is going to heaven, or you had to believe the exact opposite. But as I stated then, many people choose a third option which is unbiblical and illogical. They say that God loves everybody, Jesus died for everybody, but only some people go to heaven. This belief is called arminianism, and it is widely held by most Christians today. The other opposing views are:

Universalism-the belief that everybody is going to heaven

Calvinism-the belief that God loves only some, Jesus died only for some, and that only some people are going to heaven.

Calvinism and Arminianism are agreed upon the fact that only some people are going to heaven. The part they disagree upon is the love of God and the purpose of Jesus' death. In this lesson we will look at the love of God.

The basic premise of Arminianism is that God gives everybody a chance to "accept" Jesus based upon their own free will. If a person rejects the offer, then they are sent to hell. Even though Jesus died for them, reasons the Arminian, His death is not as sufficient as their rejection of the gospel.

Now, to put this belief to the test, ask yourself this-would God send someone He loves to hell? Most Christians would answer, "Yes. He doesn't want to, but it is their choice." But look at it another way. For those of you who are parents-if your young child was about to drink bleach from under the kitchen sink, would you allow it? Of course not. Because of your love for that child you would take decisive action and get that bleach away from them. Even though it was their choice to drink it, you know that their choice would lead to death. Acting as a good parent, out of true love, regardless of what the foolish child wants, you intervene and do what is best for the child.

If you haven't already, let's apply this analogy to God and man. If man is dead in sin, the way the Bible says he is, and he is incapable of choosing God or seeking after Him, what is God to do? Is He to allow the children He loves to make a bad decision? Will He allow their rejection of Him, which will send them to eternal damnation to take priority over His love and what He knows is best for them? Of course not. So He intervenes by sending Christ to die for them, and by sending the Holy Spirit to regenerate them. Left to their own devices man would have drank the bleach, but God as the loving Father prevents it.

The main argument people have against Calvinism is that it robs man of his free will. This is not true. Man has free will to choose whom he will marry, where he will work, what he will eat. But when it comes to spiritual matters, man's will is not free. He is in bondage to sin. And sin will never gravitate towards God. As it has been said before, "a thief will not seek a cop". So God has to change man's will, and He does this by His love and by His Spirit. Because God loves, He sends Jesus to die. Because of Jesus' death, those whom God loves receives certain benefits such as redemption, reconciliation, and eternal life.

So does God send people He loves to hell? Never. But aren't there going to be people in hell? Of course, that's what the Bible teaches. Then logic would teach that those who go to hell must be those whom God does not love.. OUCH! This is not a popular message. This goes against our goosebumps-tickly conception of God. But again, it is what the Bible teaches whether we like it or not.

In the next lesson we will start digging into Scripture and learn more about God's love, hate and what John 3:16 is really teaching.