Bad People Go to Hell, Right? RIGHT? (Part Two)

In Part One, I asked if a man like Adolf Hitler go to Hell? I don't know, but probably, despite what non-Christians would have you believe though stupid memes like the one at left.

It might not be because he was such a maniac, per se, but rather because during his notorious existence he demonstrated a marked lack of repentance, persisting in the torment of millions, and pursuing world domination to make for himself the ultimate empire. Hitler clearly didn't see the Jews for what they are: God's beautiful creation. In fact, he really believed he was doing something good by his own (whacko) definition. Odds are, he maintained that attitude to the bitter end. No repentance? No salvation. Before you scream, "It's all about Jesus," let me finish.

First, let's define what good is. We can use societal rules, or we can use Biblical rules. If you are the kind of person who doesn't believe in the Bible, then you are likely relying on societal rules - a sort of Social Contract that sounds a lot like "Do unto others..." That's a great start, but:
  • The definition of good changes over time. Look at slavery, or restriction of voting and property rights to white males. These obscene practices were actually commended at some point in our history. But, we're so much more aware and elightened now, right? It doesn't take a genius to realize we're not at all on some remarkable trajectory toward ultimate enlightenment. Just take a peek at racial division, crime rates, and oppression globally. If we were really moving toward Utopia, we wouldn't see things like ANTIFA, ISIS and Neo-Nazis.
  • The definition of good changes with legislation. In 2016, in California, Proposition 47 re-classified the following crimes as non-violent, making the perpetrators eligible for early release from prison: rape by intoxication or unconsciousness, drive-by shooting, domestic violence, human trafficking involving sex with a minor, and drive-by shootings. If you are a conservative in California, you realize the law's definition of what's bad isn't, well... good. Legislators compromise our standards more and more, every year. Legal isn't synonymous with good.
  • The definition of good varies by culture. Consider selling virginity, honor-killings, drowning of female infants, and polygamy. Repulsive, right? American women shudder in horror, but this is acceptable behavior in other countries. If we point out how horrible these practices are, members of the countries which violate women's rights might well point to our foul-mouthed Hollywood ladies and ask, Do you REALLY think you have the moral high-ground, America? Also, the definition of good (in the same country) varies among myriad subcultures. Mistakenly offer a vegan a bacon and turkey sandwich, and find out just how good you are NOT, according to their standard.
To determine who's good and who's bad, we first need a clear, concise set of rules we can all agree on. Using the above is like counting sand, blown by wind.

Let's just use the Bible, and the Big Ten to determine who goes to Heaven, and who goes Hell, hypothetically.
  1.  You shall have no other gods before Me. (That's God speaking)
BOOM! I'm already burning. It's not like I sacrifice chickens to Baal, or Thor. Ooops! I just envisioned that gorgeous hunk, Chris Hemsworth, playing Thor. If he has a girlfriend, then I just blew rule #10 by coveting, and probably #7, at least mentally. Dear Reader, I hope you get farther than me.
  1. You shall not make idols.
  2. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
  3. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  4. Honor your father and your mother.
  5. You shall not murder.
  6. You shall not commit adultery.
  7. You shall not steal.
  8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  9. You shall not covet.
How did you do? Are you "good" by this definition? Are you thinking, Well, not GOOD, but at least I made it past rule number one Miss Julie, you sinful blogger. Fair enough. You're probably a nicer person than I.
But can we ever impartially assign a percentage to our good vs. bad? If so, are we absolutely certain it allows us a happy Great Beyond? At what percentage is that threshold? How can we know if we're right? Maybe if you stand next to someone who's worse than you...?

I can't begin to tell you how many family members, friends, and acquaintances I have who are relying on this method to determine whether they will be at peace for eternity, or in burning torment. They just pop on some rose-colored glasses, proclaiming themselves "Mostly Good" and celebrating the idea that they'll be together with Nanna, Poppa, and every other nice person they have ever met in Heaven, because they're likely greater than 50% nice.

So...about these 10 commandments...Do you keep the Sabbath? I don't know if you realize this, but the Sabbath is presented as a pretty big deal. There are 98 and 135 words used to spell out the law concerning keeping the Sabbath in Exodus and Leviticus, respectively. There are only four words used to address murder. The disparity tells me the Sabbath is pretty important to God. But society makes you feel like a fool if you try to keep it, eh?

I've heard the argument many times that we don't have to keep the Sabbath, because we're Evangelicals not Jews, for goodness sake. OK, smarty-pants, does that mean that the rules against murder or theft are also null and void? Of course not.

In Matthew 5:17-20, Jesus said:

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

Jesus said never enter the kingdom of heaven. NEVER. But I digress.

The point of this is to realize that even with a concise, unchanging, top-ten set of rules that define a good person, or bad person:


Yes, I meant to shout that last part. Even God-loving Christians fall short.

I fall short if I have ever placed something in my life of greater importance than God. You fall short if you've ever worked on a Saturday. I probably fell short as a tyke, the first time I nabbed a cookie from the cookie jar without permission. And God is very clear: If we sin, we die. Romans 6:23 says it all:

For the wages of sin is death, 

Uh-oh. Good thing there's a second part to that verse:

but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

You see, God knew we could never live up to His rules from the very start (His solution is in the very same sentence, folks!). God immediately came running after us, offering to pay the wages of sin for us.

Don't believe me? Look what He showed me in January, during some daily scripture reading. When one translates the names of the first five books of the Bible, it looks like this:

Book Name
Original Hebrew
English Translation
In the beginning
(of) departure
the Lord called
into the wilderness.
Elleh haddebarim
These are the words.

Just for fun, the next book is Joshua. It means The Lord Saves. I also love that it's the sixth book in the Bible, and that the time leading up to this fulcrum point is six thousand years.

The final installment of this blog topic addresses the importance of sincere relationship with God, versus claiming one believes in Jesus as a Get Out of Jail Free card. 

Don't miss it.

P.S. - In prayer after posting this, God said to me "Jeconiah." I don't really know the guy, but apparently, God cursed him. Jeconiah repented. Wait until you hear what happened next.