Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Can One Sin In My Life Lead Me to Hell?

"Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires." -Romans 13:13-14 ESV 

In our modern day we as Christians can assume that we're fine with one foot in and one foot out.  We've got the whole grace through faith in Christ equation going in our lives.  That's what it's really all about right?  I mean, if we have some active sins in our lives, no big deal right?  I mean, nobody can be perfect.  Especially if it's just some of the 'small sins.'  After all we've got grace, right?

Part of the equation of salvation is the recognition that we've set aside our old selves, which were corrupted by sin, and we've "put on" our new selves which are being built up in righteousness.  Indeed, the equation of salvation is fairly simple, as Jesus put it, "repent and believe the good news" (Mark 1:15). 

"Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness." -Ephesians 4:22-24 (ESV)

And again, "Be holy as I am holy, for without holiness no one will see the Lord" 1st Peter 1:15-16.

Also it is written: "Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord." -Hebrews 12:14

So, let's say I'm a Christian, and I live my life in service to God, preaching the gospel, and living a set apart life.  But during my life I never repent (turn away from) the sin of stealing.  I occasionally download music illegally from the internet.  I do that in my life, then I die, and face God in the judgment at the end of the world.  Do I go to heaven or hell?  

Another example, we have a woman, shes a Christian, lives for God, and serves in lay ministry.  But there's a sin in her life that she treasures, it's the sin of gossip.  She loves to speak about others, and share details about their lives, and she can sometimes be harsh and cruel in her private judgments.  So she dies, and she goes to face God on judgment day.  Where does she go?

Another example, we have a man who is a Christian, but he holds out a fair amount of unforgiveness toward people who have hurt him.  Other than that, he leads a pure life, but he feels justified in not forgiving others who have sinned against him.  He dies suddenly, and goes before God.  Where does he go?

Still another example, a man struggles with pornography and masturbation.  He's a minister, and he preaches to a large congregation.  He gives a good witness, but has a private addiction that he never addresses despite the Holy Spirit prodding him to do so.  Where does he go when he dies and faces God?

One final example, a godly Christian woman has led dozens of people to Christ, she's done great deeds in His name, but she hangs on to a certain habit.  She asks a friend at a local pharmacy to get pills for her, and give them to her, for a sickness she has, which she could pay for, but since her friend works there, she gets them for free. The Holy Spirit has convicted her many times, but she refuses to set those things aside. As she passes away, and faces God, where will she go?  Heaven or hell? 

The truth is that each of these people in these scenarios would not go to heaven, they would go to hell.  Can a Christian end up going to hell?  Yes they very much can.  We each have a requirement in our personal lives of living in holiness and purity before God.  

This is a high standard of living, but it's quite thoroughly livable in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Thankfully for each of us, the Holy Spirit is active in our lives, convicting us, rebuking us, comforting us, and helping us live out our Christian walk.  But we have the choice of resisting the Spirit's leading, and clinging to our old sins.  And if we don't "repent and believe the gospel" but remain unrepentant (unwilling to change) we shouldn't expect to inherit eternal life.  Instead we'll inherit condemnation.  

Ephesians 4:30-31 "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice."

Our sins are washed away by the powerful blood of Jesus Christ.  He has paid our debt of sin.  But it was a high, high cost to pay.  Jesus didn't die on the cross, so we could continue sinning in our earthly lives, and use him as a constant damp rag to wipe off our own sin over and over again.  Sadly, we often have a cavalier attitude toward sin in our day and age.  We comfort ourselves with catch phrases about grace, grace, and more grace. In fact it seems as if many of these grace-junkies in the church worship the idea of grace more so than God himself. Now grace is absolutely a central theme of our faith. But it's not the end all be all. Many have used the concept of grace as an excuse to live in sin, not realizing that the scriptures clearly tell us that we've been called to live pure, holy, set apart lives.  

If you are caught in a sin in your life right now, realize this: Jesus Christ will set you free.  The Holy Spirit is right there with you, willing and able to set you free.  Follow His leading!  Any sin that we commit on Earth, as long as we come to Christ in prayer, confess the sin, and repent (turn away from it) we know we will be forgiven.  The important thing is to move into the future and not continue to habitually commit that sin again and again.

Our God is a God of great love.  In fact the word of God tells us God is love.  But our God is also a consuming fire. Heaven and hell are both realities.  We should live in light of that, trembling before our Heavenly Father, and learning to fear Him and as such, live holy lives of reverence and awe for God.

Sadly, this is a somewhat lost teaching in the pulpits of modern day Christianity.  Pastors don't wants to offend anyone.  Pastors don't want to risk losing church members by preaching on those pesky "sin and judgment" verses.  After all it's the message of love that will get people saved right?  Well, yes and no. Love is very important, yes.  But often times we need a good dose of some raw facts about sin and hell, to motivate us toward repentance and change.  Should we share about these things in order to scare people to change?  Not at all.  But people should be taught, and should be warned about the many messages about purity and holiness in the scriptures. We're abdicating our duty if we ignore them. We can't ignore and minimize the warnings of hell and eternal torment in the scriptures.  We can't just write these things out because we don't like them, or think they might offend someone.  

Holiness is our calling.  And holiness we must have, in order to see God.  We all struggle, and stumble in many ways. But in the journey of our lives, as the Holy Spirit convicts us, and calls us out of sin, we should be quick to respond, and quick to repent, realizing that to remain in sin, even as a professing Christian, is to leave our souls in great danger.  God loves us.  Jesus will help us be free from sin.  But we have to take dutiful action as the Spirit convicts and leads us.  But please don't be afraid.  As it is written, "I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" -Philippians 1:6.  

But I will remind you, that this is not a message that you will hear from many pulpits in our modern day and age of feel good worship experiences and self help sermons.  Which is why it's more important then ever that Christians read the Bible for themselves, carefully, and understand everything that is written.  Don't trust in theological systems, don't trust what the pastor or priest says, trust what the Bible says, line by line, and carefully studied.  

I've made the mistake in the past of clinging too closely to a preferred theological system, whether it be Arminianism or Calvinism or whatever. Don't make that same mistake.  Hold closely to the word of God, and hold lightly to the theological systems of man.  I had noticed over the years of my faith that there seemed to be a disconnect between what I heard in pulpits and what I was reading in the Bible.  

But I comforted myself that the preachers must know better than me about the word, and theology.  But often times that's not the case, and if we see something in the Bible, we should study it and learn it, and follow it to it's logical conclusion.  Heaven is real and hell is real.  Jesus Christ is real.  Everything hangs in the balance.  Don't let any man or woman deceive you with empty words or hollow philosophy.  

As it says in Galatians: "We are each responsible for our own conduct. Those who are taught the word of God should provide for their teachers, sharing all good things with them. Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit." -Galatians 6:5-8 NLT

So what is the final answer? Can one sin in my life lead me to hell? The answer to this question is yes.  One sin that the Holy Spirit has repeatedly convicted you of, and you've consistently resisted that call to change, throughout your whole life, to the moment of death (which is an unknown moment for each of us) can and will lead you to hell.  

Our God is a holy, pure, perfect, righteous God of love, grace, and mercy.  He has given us everything we need to live a godly life in Christ Jesus.  But if we snub the Lord, living with one foot in holiness and one foot in sin, we shouldn't expect for the outcome to be heaven, but instead hell and punishment.  I'm sorry, I know, it's a tough teaching, but that is God's standard.  

There are no big and small sins, to sin by breaking one command is to break them all.  But thankfully we have a great savior in Jesus Christ who actively walks with us through this life, and His Spirit is within us, helping us to grow further and further away from sin and deeper and deeper into righteousness.  If you walk with Jesus Christ, He will make you to be holier and holier day by day.  Do that carefully, giving consideration to your ways, and you won't have to worry about falling short of eternal life.  But if you resist the Spirit of God and lazily allow sin to prevail in your Earthly life, realize that the word says you'll reap what you sow.  

Trust in God, brothers and sisters, and give no provision for the flesh to obey it's desires, but live instead to obey the Spirit and fulfill His desires in you.  Amen. 

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  3. A Heart of Love: What am I seeking in Life?
  4. The Forgotten Teaching in the Church: Holiness
  5. The Army of God will have Victory after Victory
  6. The Church of Laodicea & The Church of America
  7. How Holiness Theology Transformed My Understanding
  8. Fasting and Prayer: Why You Should Fast Twice a Week
  9. An Investigation of the Biblical Concept of Hell 
  10. Why Do I Exist? A Quick Look at the Human Life