If I Don't Accept Jesus,
Will I Go To Hell?
(This is a long 'Response idea'.
The further explanation is below the double line)
"You ask a very important question and it deserves more than a yes or no answer. Will you give me the time necessary to provide an answer worthy of the question's importance, and do you mind if I ask you a few questions?"
(If they say "No" to offering you time to respond then you can respond that you'll be happy to give an answer when they can give you the time necessary to answer in a way that gives respect to the importance of the question.)
If they agree to give you the time and agree to the questions:
Question 1: "Do you believe that people who do bad or wrong things should be punished? Most people will agree. If they agree, share that you also agree that people who do bad things should be punished.
Question 2: "Have you ever done any bad or wrong things?"
Most will agree that they have) If they agree, let them know you agree and have done bad things also.
"So we both agree that people who do bad things should be punished, and we both agree that we've done bad things. What do we call this? Bad news."
"So think about a courtroom where we are both in front of the judge and we both know we're guilty and deserve the punishment that the judge is about to pass down. But instead of the judge assigning the punishment, they ask if either of us are interested in a pardon? (when we realize our guilt we are much more interested in a pardon) Now you can bring forward the idea of the judge stepping down from the bench and taking on themselves the punishment we deserve. "Jesus is the judge and He has offered to take on Himself the punishment we deserve. Since He is God, He is qualified to make this offer. If we accept his free offer, we are pardoned and now viewed as innocent. If we don't accept His offer, we are still guilty. And since God is a just judge, He has no choice but to punish those who are guilty."
If they ask why God can't just forgive anyone's/everyone's sin and not punish them, present to them the following scenario. One of their family was assaulted or murdered and the perpetrator was caught and in front of the judge, and the judge let them go free because they had never been caught before. Ask them if they feel that the judge was good or bad? If they say "bad", then let them know that for God to be a good and just God, he must punish those who have not accepted the payment that Jesus offers.
The above response idea comes from Greg Koukl's video:
The Question that Stops Christians in Their Tracks
This challenging statement is actually a question, and an important one. Some may ask it as a challenge, while others are seriously interested in an answer. It is important to respond in a way that really shows the importance of the question and the important implications of the question. While it’s not a self-contradictory statement, it can still be quite challenging when we are asked. While I believe some ask the question honestly seeking an answer, I believe others will ask it in an attempt to trip up Christians. They look to use what they believe the Christian’s probable answer will be as evidence of how narrow minded the Christian is and how petty God is.
While the question initially seems challenging, I have provided information from Greg Koukl as to how to respond to this in the response idea above, a link below, as well as in the SHARING THE TRUTHS OF CHRISTIANITY section.
When you think about the question, you can see that if only the single word answer ”yes” is given, the person will leave with the impression that they are going to hell simply because they picked the wrong preference of religion. If only the single word answer “no” is given, the person will have a misunderstanding of salvation according to the teachings of the Bible. It will seem to them very trivial on God’s part that they might have lived a GOOD life and are still going to hell. Review the sections on Salvation to see all the considerations that touch on this question.
Since it is impossible to provide an adequate answer to this question using only a single word answer, a question like this needs to be answered very tactfully. This way, the person asking the question comes to a full understanding of the importance of their question. A single word answer cannot provide this needed understanding and perspective.
Greg Koukl stresses that if someone presses you for a single word answer and is not willing to give you the time necessary to give them a full answer then you are not obligated to answer at all.
As indicated above, you could respond,
“The subject is much too important to give a single word answer to. If you are really interested in an answer rather than just a quick response, I’m happy to talk with you. If you are unable right now to give me the time to show your question the respect it deserves then I would like to give you my answer when you do have more time. If you are really only interested in a yes or no answer, you must not be that serious about the question, and maybe the answer isn't that important to you.”
Review Greg Koukl’s effective method of responding to this:
AM I GOING TO HELL?
Next Section: Can God Make a Rock So Big . . .