Am I Going to Hell?

heaven, hell, traffic signs-115393.jpg

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

Out of curiosity I typed the question, “Am I going to Hell?” into Google and found an online quiz. Why not? I thought and began to answer the questions. It asked some personal stuff like whether I was prone to lying, stealing, or hatred. One question asked if I ever root for the bad guy in movies. Another asked if I always wash my hands after using the toilet. Interesting. My favorite question asked if I like dogs. We all know anyone who doesn’t like dogs is going straight to Hell (said no one ever!). At the end of the test, I was happy to see I scored favorably. Based on some obscure calculation, the quiz maker determined I had made some mistakes in life, but not enough to send me to Hell. I’m relieved to know that Heaven is my final destination since all my good deeds outweigh the bad.

Hold on. The makers of this quiz judge good hand washing as an atonement (or payment) for lying and stealing?! This begs the question; how much good must I do to outweigh something really bad? Can I work my way out of Hell if I cheat on my spouse, or commit murder? This line of thinking leads to measuring things by personal standards and the belief that a person can earn their way into Heaven. It may sound silly, but there are whole belief systems built around this premise. What about you? Do you think a person is sent to Hell if their bad behavior outweighs the good? The Bible tells us the answer to that question is both yes and no. Confused? Stay with me and I’ll explain. Before I do though, let me tell you what Hell is really all about.

In the beginning God created the Heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). Everything He created was good. As far as people were concerned, all they needed to do was follow one simple rule and they would go on living in a garden paradise for eternity. Hell was not something God planned for His original creation. But something changed all that. In Matthew 25 verse 41, Jesus speaks of a time of final judgment where he says, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Scripture mentions this eternal fire as a place of imprisonment. It’s given other names like Hades, Gehenna, lake of fire, Sheol, or the pit. Today, we think of these places collectively as “Hell.” 

Initially Hell was a place to imprison Satan and his fallen angels. They were cursed because of their disobedience. They pridefully rebelled and sought to rise above God (Isaiah 14:12-15, 22; Peter 2:4; Revelation 20:10; Jude 1:6, etc.). Unfortunately, the very first man and woman created also chose to disobey God which resulted in a blood curse that has been passed down to every generation since. Everyone is destined for Hell because our nature is inherently bad. That sounds bleak, but don’t worry, God made a way to break the curse!

Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Meaning, our inherent bad nature will always outweigh any good we do, and no one can work their way into Heaven. Here is where the quiz went horribly wrong. It tried to say a person can try really, really, really hard to be good and squeak their way in. I was at a funeral one time where a priest said, if we can just get our little pinky toe in the door God had to let us in. That is not what the Bible says. It blows my mind how many people have been misled by such sentiment. The right question should be, “if we are all destined for Hell, what must we do to be saved?”

The quiz used limited human standards to judge the fate of a person. In this world, the punishment of a criminal is decided by the measure of the crime. They do a small crime and get off with community service. Commit a horrible crime and the consequence might be life-long imprisonment or even execution. Not so with God. There is no sliding scale. All mankind has been corrupted. Yet God doesn’t want anyone to go to Hell. So, He offers a way out. Can you imagine a Judge offering a pardon immediately after declaring a person guilty and sentencing them to life in prison? That seems completely unreasonable, but this is exactly what our loving Father in Heaven is offering— a full pardon, with only one condition. He wrote it down so everyone would know, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

So, what must we do to break the curse and be saved? It’s right there in that verse. Choose to believe in God’s Son. His name is Jesus. It’s important to know what Jesus did and why he did it. Jesus is the only one ever born without the curse that came from rebelling against God. He never lied, cheated, and did anything bad. I bet he even liked dogs. The point is, he was good. When he offered himself as a sacrifice, His innocent blood paid the debt for all of our rebellion and cancelled the blood curse the entire human race was trapped in. That’s right, he died for you to live. Three days later, God raised him from the dead. His death, burial, and resurrection have a ton of significance. First and foremost, what Jesus accomplished is a way for you to be restored into proper relationship with God, destined to live with him now and forever. So, if you ever again wonder, “am I going to Hell?” just remind yourself, “If I trust and believe in Jesus, I’ll never go to Hell because he was good enough to give me a way to Heaven.” 

Want to know more? Check out the article: Who is this God anyways? or contact us today.

Leave a Reply