For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. –Romans 10:13
People who judge God need to really consider if they would be more pleased if God were tolerant of everyone, including rapists, pimps, pedophiles, and even those who have sinned against them most heinously. The idea is completely absurd and unjust. Not everyone in hell is a rapist, of course, but everyone there chose sin over God throughout his or her entire life.131
God is not tolerant of people who don’t like the way of Jesus. He is completely committed to a new earth where no one will have to be on guard against idolatry and injustice. The new earth will include a redeemed community that reflects the character of God, who is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty.”132 So it will be a place where community will be characterized by “compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience . . . [and] love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”133
A loving God protects His children from sin and evil by separating them. In this way, God is a Father who is tolerant of all who obey Him and are safe for His children. But He is intolerant of those who sin against Him and do evil to His children. Subsequently, God is intolerant in a way that is like our own cultural intolerances of those who drink and drive, steal, rape, and murder; we, too, demonstrate our intolerance by separating such people from society. To call such actions on God’s part intolerant is shameful, because tolerance would denote both approval and support of evil.134
How wonderful will eternity be when all sin and rebellion are finished forever?
131 Rom. 1:18–31, 2:4–11.
132 Ex. 34:6–7.
133 Col. 3:12–14.
134 C. S. Lewis wrote a brilliant essay refuting the liberal approach to dealing with sin and crime, titled “The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment,” that can be found on the Internet or in God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1970), 287–300.