Friday, July 06, 2007

Does Homosexuality Send Someone to Hell?

This is a serious question. No one wants to go to Hell--atheists deny the existence of Hell, quite simply because they don't want to go there; however, all people who go there will be there quite simply because they aren't willing to abandon their sins to escape the Wrath of God. In short, they expect God to bow to them. It doesn't work that way.

The Bible says that "all liars shall have their part in the Lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." (Revelation 21:8) That's not a place I want to go, and yet I have to admit, I am a liar: I have told lies, that makes me eligible to go to Hell. Have you ever told a lie?

Revelation 21:8 doesn't just mention liars: it mentions "the fearful, the unbelieving, the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars..." Do you fit into any of those categories?

Who are the fearful? Well, remember, the Bible was not written in English, but in Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic. Translation from one language to another is limited by the meanings in the words of the latter. The word translated "fearful" here specifically denotes someone who, when faced with calamity, refuses to trust the promises that God has made him. Specifically, I believe that this refers to those who deny God's provision for their souls in Jesus Christ. They live their lives in fear of their Lord, rather than in obedience to His Word, because they don't trust His promises. They call themselves Christians, but are actually "workers of iniquity" (Matthew 7:21-23), "wicked and slothful servant[s]" (Matthew 25:14-30), who will join the rest in the Lake of Fire.

Who are the unbelieving? Quite simply those who reject the Gospel. They don't even pretend to be Christians, they don't humble themselves when presented with God's High and Holy Law, they just reject it. They, too, will received Eternal Justice on Judgment Day.

Who are the abominable? Now this is where most conservatives would take the time to point out homosexuality. Now, they are right in one thing: homosexuality is an abomination to God (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13), but they are wrong in another, or, rather, incomplete: There are many things that are mentioned in Scripture as "an abomination"--just look at the entire chapter of Leviticus 18. Then go over to Proverbs 6:16-19. Read everywhere that the Bible speaks of idolatry. Or how about Proverbs 12:22? Why aren't these also included? We'll attempt to answer that later in the post.

Who are the murderers? One would think that would be obvious, but listen to what Jesus said in Matthew 5:21-22: "You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire." First John 3:15 reiterates: "Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and we know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him."

Who are the whoremongers? The Greek word translated "whoremongers" is pronounced "porneo," from which we get the word pornography, and it simply denotes any sexual relationship not in line with Genesis 2:24: "For this cause shall a man ... cleave unto his wife and they shall be one flesh." Notice, it does not say "spouse" or "girlfriend" or "boyfriend" but "wife." Those who disobey this priniciple, be they gay or straight, will have their part in the Lake of Fire.

Who are the sorcerers? Well, the Greek word translated "sorcerers" is pronounced "Pharmacaea" and simply means drug abuse. Why would God send drug abusers to Hell? Because they refuse His help. They put getting high above serving the God who gives them every breath that they take. By the way, getting high and getting drunk are one and the same. We just use different means (snorting/shooting/smoking versus drinking).

Who are the idolaters? Most people think of idolatry as bowing down before "false idols." I don't know where the term "false idols" came from, because, by definition, an idol is a false god. The term could even be contradictory to the meaning intended by the speaker: 1) Does this mean that there are "true idols" that we should bow down to? 2)Does this mean that these are not really idols? But enough of my diatribe on grammar, we're talking about going to Hell! Are you an idolater? Have you made a god to suit yourself, or do you worship the God who is? One can make an idol in his own mind (Ezekiel 14:3-4), a god who doesn't condemn him for his sins, but does condemn those who rebuke him for his sins.

Who are the liars? Everyone that has told a lie is a liar. Even if they are just historical liars, they are still liars nonetheless. And "all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone."

Now, I said I would address this issue later, and now is later: Why don't conservatives focus on these other sins? Why, it's for the same reason that liberals decry any mention of sin--they are guilty of them and don't want to face the fact that they deserve to go to Hell.

The Bible says that almost every man will proclaim his own goodness (Proverbs 20:6). I have dished out the Good Person Test to at least 1000 people. Very rarely will anyone admit that his is a bad person, and only some Christians see themselves as truly evil people. Yet, this is what the Bible teaches, that "there is none righteous, no not one" (Romans 3:10). No one likes to admit that he himself deserves to go to Hell, and yet that is the hard truth of Christianity.

Jesus Himself said, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Then He said this: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man comes to the Father except through Me." Therefore, if you are not a sinner, then you cannot enter Heaven.

But, wait a minute--Heaven isn't for sinners, is it? Well, not really. Jesus also said, "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:1-5). But you have to be a sinner to repent. Doesn't matter what the sin is, you have to have done something that displeases God, and I'm sure that if you are honest with yourself, you will see that you have done something, whether it be lying, stealing, looking with lust (Jesus called that adultery of the heart in Matthew 5:27-30), hating someone, etc.

But if you are too proud to admit to your sins, just remember one thing: the first thing on the list of abominations in Proverbs 6:16-19 is a proud look. A prideful person has made an idol--himself--putting his own judgment of himself above that of God. The Bible repeats, "Everyone who is proud of heart is an abomination unto the Lord" (Proverbs 16:5). Don't be a fool--repent of your sins today, no matter what they are.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Repent or Die

In this relativistic world, where everything is up to personal interpretation, there is a universal truth: Ten out of ten people die. No matter if you are rich or poor, wise or foolish, you are going to die. King Solomon said, Then I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness. The wise man’s eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. Yet I myself perceived that the same event happens to them all. So I said in my heart, “ As it happens to the fool, it also happens to me, and why was I then more wise?” Then I said in my heart, “ This also is vanity.” For there is no more remembrance of the wise than of the fool forever, since all that now is will be forgotten in the days to come. And how does a wise man die? As the fool!

Solomon understood that one day, everything that we strive for will be unkindly taken from our hands by the merciless and unbreakable jaws of death. What is it you strive for? Isn’t there something more important?

Jesus said, “I tell you, that every idle word that a man shall speak, he will give an account thereof on the Day of Judgment.” After we die, we have to face the God who gives us every breath that we take, to give an account for how we have used those breaths. How will you fare?

Have you ever told a lie? The Bible says, “..and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone.”

Have you ever stolen anything (even if it was small)? The Bible declares that thieves are not allowed into Heaven.

Have you ever looked with lust? Jesus said that if you look with lust, you commit adultery in your heart, a violation of the Seventh Commandment for which God prescribed the death penalty.

Have you ever hated anyone? Jesus said that if you so much as insult someone, you will receive the same punishment as a murderer.

You see, if we trivialize God’s commandments, He could trivialize our breath. That would be a big deal for us, so we need to make God’s commandments a big deal. As such, there is not one of us who deserves to go to Heaven, for all of us have lies, stolen, lusted, and hated.

But we know that God is a loving God, as well as a just God. So, do you know what Just thing God did so that we would not have to go to Hell? John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever will trust in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life.” If Jesus had not come down from Heaven and suffered and died for our sins, there would be no way for God to forgive us. But there’s more:

God is not going to merely give a blanket pardon to everybody. Jesus said, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Jesus also said that on Judgment Day, many people would come to Him saying, “Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophecy in Your Name, and cast out demons in Your Name, and do many wonderful works [in Your Name]?” and He said, “I will tell them, ‘I never knew you, depart from me, ye workers of iniquity’”! God makes no exceptions for Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, or Jews. If we do not forsake our sins, God will not forgive us. God will not allow sin into Heaven.

So repent, and trust Jesus today. You trusted in someone’s car to get you here, or you would not have ridden in it (whether it was your car, a friend’s car, a rental car, or a Metrolink car). Trust Jesus the same way. Jesus said, “If ye continue in My Word, then you are My disciples indeed. And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” If you have repented of your sins, then you will get you instructions from Heaven rather than continuing to get instructions from yourself. So read your Bible daily, and obey what you read. God will never fail to keep all of His promises.