As the creator God has the right to set the parameters for His creation and to judge their response for He is the chief judge of all (Ps 94:2; Heb 13:4). Because He is holy and righteous He does this fairly (Ps 96:13, 98:9).
In the Bible God’s judgment is expressed in various punishments such as a particular sentence or calamity. Some sin He dealt with immediately in the past such as Adam and Eve's initial sin (Gen 3:14-24). Other examples include the flood; the confounding of the languages during the building of the tower of Babel; the Israelites being taken captive by the Babylonians because of disobedience to God’s (Gen 6:5-7,17, 11:1-8; Jer 2:17,19). God in His mercy (of discipline) is dealing with sin in the lives of believers in the present so we will reform our lifestle (Heb 12:5-11; 1 Pet 4:17). Other judgement for sin will be delayed till the future such as the coming tribulation, and Judgment Day especially on those who fail to accept Christ’s deliverance (2 Thes 1:6-10; Jud 1:6; Rev 6:1-16:21). Some view natural disasters as a form of divine judgement, when because of widespread sin people move out from the protective covering of walking in God's ways, yet these and the trials of life are a consequence of living in a world adversely affected by sin. However any such adverse events should always prompt us to seek God's and repent for any waywardness (Lk 13:1-5).
After death we all face the final judgment or trial where “God will give to each person according to what they have done” (Mt 16:27; Rom 2:6-10, 14:12; Rev 22:12). God’s righteous judgment will separate believers and non-believers on the basis of their faith in Him as seen by their response to His revealed will (Gen 18:25; Mt 13:30). The non-Christians, will be judged before the ‘great white throne’ and doomed to the Lake of Fire (because they have refused to repent and so failed to walk in His ways), while eternal life will be given to those who are His children (Mt 13:40-43, 25:46; Jn 5:28,29; Heb 9:27; 1 Pet 4:5; 2 Pet 2:9; Rev 20:12-15).
God is loving and doesn’t want any to perish in hell, yet He is also just and fair so if people rebel and ignore the gift of salvation He has no other alternative but to banish them to hell along with those who claim to be Christians but have failed to live as He directed, for “Not all who call me Lord will receive eternal life – only those who do my will” (Mal 3:18-4:3; Mt 7:20-23, 10:32,33, 11:21-24; Mk 8:38; 2 Pet 3:9). The heart of the gospel is salvation through Christ, escaping from God’s condemnation in the day of judgement – it is God’s gift to be received by faith in Jesus Christ and in submission to His Lordship (Jn 3:16-18, 5:24; Act 4:12, 16:30,31; Rom 10:9; 1 Thes 5:8,9).
Jesus (and the Words He spoke) will judge everyone on the Day of Judgment (Jn 5:22,27, 12:47,48; Act 10:42, 17:31; 2 Tim 4:8; Heb 4:12,13). Divine judgment is impartial, based on the knowledge or revelation received, together with the law of God instinctively known in the conscience and revealed in nature. Such understanding is available to every individual, including those who have never heard the gospel spoken forth (Eccl 3:11; Lk 12:47,48; Jn 5:30; Rom 1:20, 2:1,2,6,15,16; Rev 20:12). People are not condemned for what they don’t know, rather for what they do with what they know, for it is not enough to just know what to do, we must do it (Mt 7:24-27; Jas 1:22-25). Mankind has not lived up to the knowledge God has provided, perverting the revelation and failing to fulfill His law and therefore we all are condemned; it’s only the blood of Jesus that cleanses and justifies (Rom 1:21-32, 3:23, 6:23; Gal 3:10,11).
If you are living in obedience to Christ you have nothing to be afraid of. You are safe because of the Blood of Jesus – rejoice!
1 Jn 1:9). Before the judgment seat of Christ we will be examined as to how we have lived and used the abilities and opportunities given us. We will be rewarded accordingly for even though we live under God’s grace this does not exempt us from being judged for laziness or tolerating sin in our lives (Mt 16:27; Jn 5:24; Rom 14:10,12; 1 Cor 3:10-15; 2 Cor 5:10-13). Of utmost importance is obedience to ‘the Word’, for “Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and obey it”, consequently, those that have lived aright will be commended by the Lord for their faithfulness (Mt 25:14-29,35-46; Lk 11:28; 1 Jn 4:17).
Just as there are various levels of rewards in heaven it is assumed there are various degrees of punishment in hell based on the evil committed by unbelievers. While escaping everlasting doom is solely reliant on the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf at the cross, it is our responsibility to continue to walk in that new way of life (and not in the old way of ‘the flesh’), bearing the fruit of the new life, proving we truly born-again (Jn 8:31, 13:35, 15:8; Eph 2:8,9; Col 1:10).
Some people say God is ‘too nice’ to send people to hell! Yes, He is loving and merciful yet “Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?” He is also honourable in keeping His Word, as prior to Adam and Eve sinning, God declared ‘if you disobey Me and sin you will die’ – indicating an eternal separation from Him, the source of real life (Gen 2:16,17, 18:25). Again, the Bible declares, “The person who sins shall die…The wages of sin is death” (Ezek 18:4; Rom 6:23). Even though we are all sinners there is a way of escape from this predicament, with the blood of Jesus cleansing those who avail themselves of the provision (Mt 26:28; Jn 3:16; Eph 1:7; 1 Jn 1:7). Love and justice come together in the character of God.