Where is the salvation when Jesus says He will cast sinners into the furnace of hell (Matt 13:41)?

Asked by Someone

Where is the salvation when Jesus says He will cast sinners into the furnace of hell (Matt 13:41) Why should he have to cast them into hell when he died to redeem mankind from sin?”


This is one of the most asked questions about God I reckon.  There is talk of salvation, but then God punishes people, how can the two go together?

The simple answer is that the salvation is found in Jesus, and his death and resurrection save us from the punishment of Hell. 

God could do this 2 ways: he’s the judge, so he could just decide to ignore everybody’s sin and not send anyone to Hell.  The thing is, that’s a scandal!  How can God let people like Hitler slaughter so many people, and then just say “oh well, who cares…”!?  We cry out for justice when people do bad things to us, and it’s immoral when sin is just ignored.

The other way he could do this is to punish sin. And this is not just the sin from the way we treat each other, it’s the sin from how we treat God - ignoring him and disobeying him. But God has another problem now, to be just, that means everyone has to go to Hell (Rom 3:23)!  He doesn’t want this, so he acts to maintain justice and mercy.  The way he does it is to take the punishment of the sinner on himself, which he does in the death of Jesus.

But your question still remains, doesn’t that mean everyone is saved by Jesus’ death?

Well, no.  The Bible says that we gain access to his forgiveness in Christ as we turn and trust in the Lord Jesus.  Eph 5:8 says “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith…”.  See, Jesus is Saviour and Lord, and as we turn from living life our own way and acknowledge him as the ruler and rescuer, we are found to be “in Him”, and his death takes effect in our lives.  Have a look at this:

“What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.”  (Phil 3:8-9).

God is not just ticking some moral box that requires a punishment for sin.  He desires relationship, and so it is our grateful dependence on Jesus to save us that brings us back into right relationship with God.  Jesus’ death is not an excuse to keep sinning, but a reason for a gratitude that will prompt us to begin to live for God as we always should have.

So how can God punish people when he has sent Jesus to die?  Well, how can he not punish them when they have ignored to one he sent to save them! 

Answers are kindly provided by our friends at Christianity.net.au

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