Is anybody going to Hell?

10 01 2007

A Harris poll conducted a few years ago revealed that 94 percent of American adults believe in God, 89 percent believe in Heaven, and 73 percent believe in Hell.  Obviously the numbers don’t add up like they should, but this is typical in these types of polls (from what I’ve seen).  What was even more surprising is that the report said, “Fully three-quarters of survey participants felt pretty sure they will be going to heaven when they die, while just 2 percent expected they would wind up in hell.”  Obviously the salvation conditions separating Heaven from Hell as our destination need to be preached a lot more.

Mark Driscoll wrote an article on this recently, which then goes into the whole Carlton Pearson debacle.  (For the record, I don’t agree with everything Mark Driscoll says.  You may not either.  Just chew on the meat and spit out the bones.)  Carlton Pearson had a “revelation” that nobody goes to Hell, even Hitler or terrorists or mass murderers.  Of course his “revelation” is a bunch of garbage, and it’s really unfortunate that such a high-profile minister fell into deception.  He still claims Christianity with Jesus providing the salvation, but his “Gospel of Inclusion” clearly contradicts what Jesus taught about Hell.  How can he preach that Jesus is the only way to Heaven and the Bible is true yet his teaching is against it?

Back to the concept of Hell…  How can 73 percent of adults believe in Hell yet only 2 percent think they’re going there?  Of course some of the people have a real relationship with Jesus and are saved, but what about the rest of the people?  Is it just wishful thinking?  Or do many people actually believe that their goodness will get them to Heaven?  While goodness (holiness) could hypothetically get someone to Heaven, it won’t work for any of us, because we will be measured by God’s standard of “good” (holy).  Just being good most of the time isn’t sufficient — you’d have to be perfect, and no one is.  We may live a mostly good and moral life, but if we’ve ever fallen short of God’s standard even one time*, we’ve missed it.  That’s why Jesus is the only way to Heaven, because He lived a perfect life and died in our place.  We deserve to die because we broke the covenant with God — that’s the terms of the deal, whether you like it or not.  (He’s God and He created us, so He gets to set the terms.)  But because He loved us and wanted to give us another chance, He sent His Son Jesus to pay the penalty for our sins.

* I realize some people don’t look at it that way, but consider this: If you murder someone, you’re a murderer; even if you live a good life otherwise, you are still responsible for what you do, even if it’s one isolated act; you still have to pay the penalty for that.  We’ve sinned against God if we’ve ever been selfish, lustful, hateful, jealous, greedy, unforgiving, etc.  It’s a standard we can’t meet on our own.  Thankfully, Jesus took our place, so we don’t have to go to Hell because of our sins.  To receive His sacrifice in your place, you have to believe in Jesus and remake the covenant with Him — under His conditions.  It’s not just a prayer you repeat after someone, nor is it just going to church and trying to be “good”.  The Bible outlines what God requires of us in this covenant, and we have to accept it.  We don’t get to choose the terms nor negotiate them in any way.  To a few people, that may sound unfair, but it’s really not.  Walking in covenant and relationship with God is the most wonderful thing ever.  It’s what we were created for…

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One response

12 01 2007
Fab

Again, I’ve got to say that I appreciate the continued use of the word “debacle” (in the reference to Carlton Pearson). No, I didn’t invent the word, but I did make it popular (with you, at least). I’m still waiting for “hog’s breakfast” to catch on a little more.

Oh, I almost forgot, good, timely post, keep up the good work.

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