Q. It seems that my wife can not believe that a loving God who gave his only Son, to pay for the sins of man,could condone the act described in Rev.21:8-9. She rejects “fire and brimstone” threats and wonders whether there is a deeper meaning to all this.
A. God is loving to those who’ve accepted the death of His Son as payment for their sins. But this sacrifice was so costly to Him that He’s angry with those who’ve rejected it.
Throughout the Bible He has made it clear that He hates sin. He’s also made it clear that he loves us enough to save us, but only if we agree to be saved. He doesn’t want any of us to be lost, but He can’t force us to accept His offer of salvation. This has been made so clear in the Bible that He equates unbelief with disobedience.
Refusing the pardon He purchased for us on the cross is the ultimate act of disobedience and puts unbelievers outside of His saving grace. It’s as if He’s saying, “I’ve thrown you a life preserver. If you don’t want to take it, that’s your decision, but you’ll drown with out it.”
As for Rev. 21:8-9, there’s nothing symbolic about it. There are only two choices in this life, accept the pardon He purchased for us and enjoy eternal life with Him, or reject it and be sent to the fiery lake of burning sulfur.