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God Does Not Want Anyone to Go to Hell

He will do whatever it takes

Second Peter 3.9

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • February 5, AD 2012


  1. God does not want anyone to go to hell, 
    1. not even His enemies, but
    2. He desires that all people be saved, and
      1. He is willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen.
      2. Listen to the testimony of Scripture,

        9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2Pe 3.9).

        3 [It] is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, [that we pray for all men] 4 [because He] desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1Ti 2.3, 4).

        16 “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3.16).

  2. Yet God made hell. 
    1. Therefore, He knows how awful it is, but
    2. He did not create humans only later to cast them into hell.
      1. He wants them to live in His paradise in heaven.
      2. However, to do that we must be qualified.
  3. First, I want to show you that even when He punishes on earth, 
    1. it is not out of a desire to destroy, but
    2. to drive people to reformation.


  1. Leviticus 26.14–45 • Phases of Punishment 
    1. Watch how He promised to deal with Israel
      1. if they persisted in disobedience,
      2. that He would take steps to turn them around.
    2. Leviticus 26.14–17 • The First Phase: Fear

      14 “If you do not obey Me… 16 I also will do this to you: I will even appoint terror over you…” (Lev 26.14–17).
    3. Leviticus 26.18–20 • The Second Phase: Sevenfold Fruitlessness

      18 “And after all this, if you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins…” (Lev 26.18–20).
    4. Leviticus 26.21, 22 • The Third Phase: Wild Beasts

      21 “Then, if you walk contrary to Me, and are not willing to obey Me, I will bring on you seven times more plagues, according to your sins. 22 I will also send wild beasts among you…” (Lev 26.21, 22).
    5. Leviticus 26.23–26 • The Fourth Phase: Famine

      23 “And if by these things you are not reformed by Me, but walk contrary to Me, 24 then I also will walk contrary to you, and I will punish you yet seven times for your sins…” (Lev 26.23–26).
    6. Leviticus 26.27–35 • The Fifth Phase: Captivity

      27 “And after all this, if you do not obey Me, but walk contrary to Me, 28 then I also will walk contrary to you in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins…” (Lev 26.27–35).
    7. Leviticus 26.36–39 • The Sixth Phase: Overwhelming Fear

      36 “And as for those of you who are left, I will send faintness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies…” (Lev 26.36–39).
    8. Leviticus 26.40–45 • He Still Gave Them a Chance to Repent

      40 “But if they confess their iniquity…if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt— 42 then I will remember My covenant…when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away…” (Lev 26.40–45).
    9. I ask you, are we different today?
      1. Has not human history shown
      2. that all nations, all churches, and all religions do the same things?
        1. Yet, here we are just over 1900 years since God completed the Bible, and
        2. He still works with the church,
          1. giving us both blessings and curses
          2. that we might turn to Him.
  2. God’s Attitude Toward Humanity 
    1. In Isaiah 27, God declares
      1. what He will do and
      2. what He wantsto do, and
        1. what He said of Israel here,
        2. I will show He thinks the same way toward all the world.
          1. Speaking of Israel as a vine,

            3 I, the LORD, keep it,
            I water it every moment;
            Lest any hurt it,
            I keep it night and day.
            4 Fury is not in Me.
            Who would set briers and thorns
            Against Me in battle?
            I would go through them,
            I would burn them together.
            5 Or let him take hold of My strength,
            That he may make peace with Me;
            And he shall make peace with Me.”
            (Isa 27.3–5)
          2. He tended to Israel constantly,
            1. even as He tends to the world’s needs constantly, and
            2. any who fought Israel,
              1. He would fight back in battle,
              2. even as any who fight the church,
                1. He fights back in battle, but
                2. He truly wants His enemies to make peace with Him.
      3. The existence of the Bible and our existence proves this.
    2. Genesis 6 shows His reluctance to wipe out the world during Noah’s day.
      1. Before you read about the Flood and
      2. how the Lord used Noah to save eight precious souls and some animals,
        1. you will read this,

          3 And the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred twenty years” (Gen 6.3).
        2. From the time He decided to end the world’s population
          1. to the time He would carry it out would be 120 years!
          2. Yet, they were brutally killing one another in the meantime.
    3. Genesis 15 explains why God waited four hundred years
      1. before giving the Land of Canaan to the descendants of Abraham,

        16 “But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete” (Gen 15.16).
      2. He was waiting until the people reached the point of no return.
    4. Second Peter 3 promises that Jesus shall return, but
      1. when He returns,
      2. He will destroy the earth.
        1. Why has He waited for over 1900 years
        2. since revealing that promise?

          9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2Pe 3.9).
  3. God Does Not Want Hell for Anyone 
    1. He knows what hell is.
      1. He would much rather that all of us,
      2. including His enemies,
        1. go to His paradise in heaven.
        2. He did not even want those who killed His Son to go to hell.
    2. Look at the picture that God gives of hell.

      41 “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, 42 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matt 13.41, 42).
  4. Yet, He Will Cast People into Hell 
    1. However, it will be after He has done many things to change our minds.
    2. Romans 2 shows that the goodness of God leads to repentance.

      4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? 5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, 6 who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: 7 eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, 9 tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; 10 but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek (Rom 2.4–10).
    3. Second Thessalonians 1 promises vengeance when Jesus returns,

      7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power (2Th 1.7–9).
    4. He ends the Book of Revelation with this picture of the future,

      15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire (Rev 20.15).


  1. Why do you wait, dear brother, dear sister? 
    1. How much longer shall the Lord wait?
    2. How much longer until you die and meet Him?
      1. Now is the day of salvation.
      2. Please do not misinterpret God’s patience
        1. as meaning that our sin does not offend Him, or
        2. that our sin will not keep us out of heaven and will not send us to hell.

          18 “When you saw a thief, you consented with him,
          And have been a partaker with adulterers.
          19 You give your mouth to evil,
          And your tongue frames deceit.
          20 You sit and speak against your brother;
          You slander your own mother’s son.
          21 These things you have done, and I kept silent;
          You thought that I was altogether like you;
          But I will rebuke you,
          And set them in order before your eyes.”
          (Psa 50.18–23)

          11 “And of whom have you been afraid, or feared,
          That you have lied
          And not remembered Me,
          Nor taken it to your heart?
          Is it not because I have held My peace from of old
          That you do not fear Me?”
          (Isa 57.11)

  2. When Paul says, “we,” in Second Corinthians 6,
    1. I include myself in that, “we.”
    2. What he says, therefore, in this text with such earnestness,
      1. I also say to you,

        1 We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For He says:

        “In an acceptable time I have heard you,
        And in the day of salvation I have helped you.”

        Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation (2Co 6.1, 2).

  3. In Acts 2, Peter convicted Jews of instigating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. 
    1. They knew what that meant.
    2. They knew the history of God with the world and with Israel.
      1. They read what we now call the Old Testament, and
      2. they knew that they were under the wrath of God.
        1. They read how God cast Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden.
        2. They read of the global flood for the world’s sin.
        3. They read of the Lord’s constant punishment of their fathers
          1. in the Book of Judges for idolatry, and
          2. in the Books of the Kings and the Chronicles for idolatry.
        4. They read the message of the prophets to the nations and to Israel.
  4. When they realized what they had done, 
    1. they knew that they were guilty of a greater sin
    2. than any of their fathers or anyone in the rest of the world had committed.
      1. With utter desperation, they knew only one thing to do,

        37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2.37).
      2. Peter delivered this simple, but powerful answer,

        38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2.38).

        1. They needed to turn their lives around, and
        2. be baptized in the name of the One they had crucified, because
          1. His desire to save even His executioners from hell was that strong.
          2. Hell is so awful that if they would be baptized in His name,
            1. He would forgive them for what they had done to Him, and
            2. He would even give them the gift of His Holy Spirit.
  5. Perhaps you have not instigated a crucifixion, but 
    1. remember why God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden,
    2. they simply ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,
      1. from which God had said He did not want them to eat.
      2. In Romans 5, Paul spoke of those who have not sinned as Adam did,

        14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come (Rom 5.14).

        1. Whether we have done something as seemingly little as Adam, or
        2. something as massive as the Jews who pushed for the crucifixion,
          1. sin and death still reign over us, and
          2. will keep us out of the Garden of God.
  6. Are you ready then 
    1. for God to cast off all your sin and
    2. for you to live as Jesus teaches you?
  7. Finally, hear what God said to Israel in Babylon, and 
    1. I am persuaded from the general message of the Bible,
    2. that He thinks the same toward us today,

      11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jer 29.11).

      1. However, here is the thing.
      2. He spoke that to the Jews in Babylon,
        1. whom He had sent there in fulfillment of Leviticus 26.
        2. He will punish, but
          1. He does not want to do it, and
          2. He certainly does not want to do it permanently.