A couple of Saturdays ago, the guys I work with decided to have cookout. We grilled steaks to our liking, mine was a Porterhouse, medium rare...mmmmmmm!!! We have steak and seafood every Friday night at the chow hall, but they are VERY well done, not so tasty. Ok, back to the point of this post =)
After we devoured our steaks, I had a discussion on religion with one of my co-workers. His basic belief is that as long as you choose a path, it doesn't matter which one, then you are right and you will get whatever you believe after death. Obviously I had to disagree with that because as I said, Christianity does not allow for that option. Either Christ died and rose again for our sins and accepting that is the only way to enter Heaven and Christianity is true, meaning the rest are false, or that those events didn't happen, meaning Christianity is false.
Like many people he has a hard time accepting that just because someone doesn't believe in Christ, then they spend eternity in hell. He doesn't see how, if God is supposed to be a loving God, He would work that way. We discussed that for awhile with me talking about that God is not only a God of love, but He is also a God of justice.
A couple of nights later when I was reading in Psalms, I came across Ps 101:1 which says, "I will sing of your love and justice; to you, O Lord, I will sing praise." It reminded me of my discussion with my co-worker. I spent some time just meditating and praying on that verse, and I really learned a lot.
That is a vital foundation of everything that it means to understand God. He is the God of love AND justice. When you take one of those and forget about the other that is when problems arise.
The Bible says of God in 1Peter 3:9, "He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." That is the love of God speaking. That is the answer to the question how can a loving God let so many people just go to hell. Well, the answer is He doesn't want anyone to go to hell which is why He gave us a way to not have that fate through His system of justice.
In that justice, He cannot let sin go unpunished. As said in Luke 13:3, "unless you repent, you too will perish." Sin must be covered by a sacrifice and Christ is that sacrifice for us. He is the payment for our sins to allow us to enter again into God's presence, John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."
The key is to understand both the love and justice of God because both are equally important. Without love, you get legalism and works based religion because you just are trying to do enough right things to earn your way to Heaven. Without justice, the sacrifice of Christ is meaningless because if God lets some people into Heaven just because He decides to or not, then there is no assurance for anyone, which by the way is the challenge of Islam.
I could say so much more about this topic, but I think that is a good foundation. Feel free to discuss more in the comments section if you so desire =)