How should we regard souls that have already perished? Does God still love those who are lost or does he lose his love for them after they have died? Or Does God only truly love those that he knows are going to be saved? Even though I have a brother who has perished, I still think on him and even still love him even though im the only one I know of in my family who believes he is in hell. (He died of a drug overdose, and I know from evidence of his life that he was not a repentant Christian). The pain of remembering him never goes away. Basically, I do not know how to regard those who have rejected God, I suppose I should hate them along with God, although I dont know how I can be happy with God for all eternity knowing that people I know are burning below me.
First of all, you can only hope that your brother repented and received the Lord in those last moments of life that he had. Just like the dying thieves on the cross, one rejected the Lord as he was dying in pain, and the other repented and received the Lord. Luke 23:39-43 says, “And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” They both would have been in extreme pain, weak, and possibly offered pain-killing drinks, as was Jesus (but He refused). Matthew 27:34 says, “They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.” Right up until the last moment, they both had the opportunity to repent and receive the Lord. Hebrews 9:27 says, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”
Genesis 6:3 says, “And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” Some people take that out of context and say that man can get to the place where he rejects one too many times, and then he cannot get saved, even if he wants to, because the Holy Spirit has given up on him. That is not true. The Holy Spirit will not always strive with man, because there comes a time when man dies. In this case, 120 years was the limit, because that is when the flood would come and all who rejected the Lord would die in the flood. That is why the Holy Spirit would only strive with them for 120 years.
I once read a story of how a young man was raised by his godly mother, but he rejected the Lord. Eventually, he went to work on a ship, and lived a wicked life. One time in a storm, he was washed overboard. As he was out in the waves about to perish, he cried out to God, repenting of his sins, and asking the Lord to save him. God spared his life. The first thing he did when they got back into port, was to go home and tell his mother what had happened to him — that he had gotten saved. But what would his mother have thought, if it was one of the other sailors at her door, telling her that her son had perished in a storm at sea? She would have thought that her wayward son had perished and gone straight to hell. God spared his life, to give us a glimpse of what He can still do in hard hearts right up until the moment of death. In the case of your brother, that is all that you can do at this point, is hope that he repented and received the Lord in the last moments of his life.
Because we do not know for sure what took place in the hearts of people in the moments before their deaths, it is not wise to dwell on them. What we must center on is the living. We cannot help our loves ones who have died. If they are in heaven, they do not need help, because they are in the blessed presence of the Lord. If they are in hell, there is nothing that we can do to help them. Luke 16:19-26 says, “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.”
If a person is in hell, he soon finds out that there is no help for him. So he then turns his attention to his loved ones who are yet upon earth, and longs for someone to reach them with the gospel. That is what we should center on — trying to reach those who are yet alive. Luke 16:27-31 says, “Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” God is not going to send someone back from the dead to reach them. It is up to us to give them the Word of God. If they do not listen to it and repent, then they would not repent if God sent back someone to earth to tell them what it is like after death.
We are not to hate lost people who have died, or God for giving them the torment that they deserve. God loved them and gave His Son to die on the cross for their sin. They rejected that great love and sacrifice, so now they are experiencing God’s great love for holiness and purity, which means that sin must be perfectly judged. Revelation 14:9-11 says, “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” Revelation 16:9-11 says, “And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory. And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.” Revelation 21:8 says, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” Revelation 22:10-17 says, “And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”