Author Tim Barnett
Published on 08/21/2023

Why Do People Go to Hell?

Tim Barnett uses the illustration of a just judge to explain why God sends some to Hell and why those who reject Jesus can’t just choose not to go there.


Original video: “You know, if you don’t accept Jesus, you’re going to go to Hell, right?”

“But I thought he was a loving God. Why would he send me to Hell?”

“Oh, he’s not going to send you there. You send yourself there.”

“Oh, okay. Well, I just won’t go.”

“What do you mean you won’t go?”

“I’ll just choose not to go to Hell.”

“But you don’t have that choice.”

“Yeah, but you said that God doesn’t send us to Hell, right?”

“You send yourself.”

“Great. Well, then, I choose not to go.”

“You can’t just choose not to go to Hell if you don’t accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.”

“But if I choose not to go to Hell, and I go anyway, it’s because somebody made me go. So, who’s making me go to Hell?”

Tim: Does God send people to Hell, or do people choose to go to Hell? Here’s my two cents in two minutes.

God does send people to Hell, but it’s because of the sins people choose to commit. In other words, we choose sin, not Hell, but when we choose sin, we get Hell because Hell is the just punishment for sin.

An illustration might help. Imagine a man is in prison for murder. We could ask why is he there. Well, at one level, he’s in prison because a just judge sent him there, but that’s not the whole story, is it? We all understand that he’s in prison as a punishment for a crime he committed. After all, if he hadn’t committed the crime, the judge wouldn’t have sent him to prison. Notice, the man chose murder, not prison, but he gets sent to prison as a punishment for murder. In a similar way, we could ask, why do people go to Hell?

In one sense, people go to Hell because God, the perfectly just Judge, sends them there, but again, that’s not the whole story. Hell is a punishment for the moral crimes we choose to commit. A good judge doesn’t sweep evil under the rug. Instead, he brings about perfect justice by punishing every wrong action, and God misses nothing. That’s the bad news. Now, if we trust in Jesus, he will stand in our place and pay the penalty for us. That’s the good news. But apart from Jesus, we’ll have to pay the penalty for ourselves. So, either Jesus pays or we pay.

Yes, God sends people to Hell. In fact, Jesus says people are thrown into Hell. Does that sound like people go willingly? No. People don’t choose Hell. Rather, they choose sin and get Hell because Hell is the just punishment for sin.