Question: “Do we go to Hell because of our sins or because of our failure to acknowledge and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour?”
To me this question has major implications for our free-will. I am one of those people who have a hard time believing that we have free-will. Based on how I know things work I seriously doubt any free-will. I think everything has a cause/effect relationship. Since any effect is caused, which causes another effect, so-on and so-forth, there cannot be free-will. I am fairly confident in my position for this reason and because if you take away the cause/effect relationships when making moral choices, you come up with randomness. You cannot very well make a decision without something effecting the decision and randomness does not make any sense.
Now that I have told you my position on free-will, let me explain that I am not sold on my position. I hold my position because it is the only position that makes sense (to me). However, I do not really like my position. Why? Well because of the question I posed at the beginning of this post.
It does not seem to be “fair” if we go to Hell because of our sins and our sins are an outcome of a cause/effect relationship. Although I think there may be a solution. What if we do not go to Hell because of our sins? What if, instead, we go to Hell because of our failure to acknowledge and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour? If so, then our lack of free-will is not problematic. Here are a few texts to think about:
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned” – Romans 5:12 – We discover that Adam sinned, death resulted. Everyone sinned and so death results in everyone. *NOTE* This text does not talk about sin sending us to Hell, but sin causing us to die.
“He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.” – 1 John 2:2 – Jesus’ propitiation was not just for us but for the whole world. *NOTE* This text does not talk about Jesus’ propitiation saving people from Hell, just about the forgiveness of our sins.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 – Whoever believes in the Son will have eternal life.
Now here is my reasoning:
- God wanted to fix the sin problem in his creation.
- God sent his son, Jesus, to Earth to sacrifice himself on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins.
- Jesus’ work applies to all men, everywhere.
- Forgiveness of sin says nothing about the acceptance of Christ.
- God elects some to Heaven and the rest to Hell – yes, I believe in double predestination.
*NOTE* As far as I am concerned, if you believe in single predestination (God only elects those who are going to Heaven) then you must believe in double predestination. Even if God does not “actively” elect those who go to Hell, he is actively electing them by not choosing them for Heaven.
- Those who he elects to Heaven are sent the Holy Spirit (the sufficient cause to accept Christ’s work).
- Those who he elects to Hell are not sent the Holy Spirit (a sufficient cause to reject Christ’s work).
So, since we are not sent to Hell for our sins, we do not have to worry about the fairness of our lack of free-will in sinning. We do not need free-will if we are only sent to Hell for our failure to accept Christ’s work and we know that God is the one who chooses who will and who will not accept Christ’s work.
I realize that this is a dangerous topic and that I have pretty much rejected a major idea concerning our sins. I definitely lean towards this system of belief, but I am not sold on it. Which is why I have posted about it. So please, if you read my post, comment and tell me your thoughts.