Can You Go To Hell For That?

Mark Anthony's picture

This is an odd topic I must confess, but appropriate in our time due to various personal idea's of what sends a person to hell.

How about Tobacco?

What about alcohol?

What about Movies?

Do these things prohibit someone from heaven?
Is it a service to God to make cultural things an issue?
Could it be we are keeping people away from God?

Grace with Taste,

Micah 6:8

JeffLogan's picture

Only God can remove them from us

In response to 'removed from history', Submitted by JStaller on Tue, 2009-01-13 23:02.

After reading your post I am left with the impression that you condone these vices denouncing any conscientious outcry against them as so much conservative propaganda. So here I am offering a rebuttal to your post in the hopes of strengthen any weak knees of brethren who might be susceptible to these vices and embrace your argument as justification for “enjoying” them—howbeit, only for a short season of pleasure before they suffer the wrath of God as did those in the Bible.

It is true that there are cases of violence, sex, nudity, and general moral debauchery in scripture. But what you fail to mention as an important contrast to movies is that in scripture these are lessons to teach us to avoid these things as displeasing to God. While in the movies they are glorified and exploited as "entertainment" for the sole purpose of financial gain. (That is the perceptions, anyway. In truth, the deceiver is at work trying to instill his principles in man and thereby thwart the purposes of God in establishing his kingdom.) That is a very important distinction that you failed to mention in your assessment.

Plus, in scripture the lesson is to teach us that God's grace is sufficient to save even the worst of sinners which is meant to give us hope and not discouragement thinking God cannot or will not forgive us because our sins are too great. Yet in these lessons it is very clear that they result in God's displeasure. David lost his precious baby because of his sin. And, thousands of innocent people died as a result of his disobedience to God in another case.

You have, perhaps, purposefully been silent in this regard simply to make your argument palatable to those who otherwise might have escaped from such things to a life of holy devotion to God. As it is written, "Be ye holy for I am holy." And again,

    "For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil."

God has winked at man's ignorance in the past which is made plain by his acceptance of Abraham, Solomon, and David, whose polygamous lives were not in harmony with God's original institution of marriage. Yet, these men were considered by God as justified, wise and worthy to build the house of God, and a man after God's own heart. But you should know from our study in Revelation that God is going to have a pure “church” and a great horde of people in whose mouth “is no guile.” Sanctification is the work of a lifetime for us. But for God the work continues until he has a people who are pure enough, who have overcome just as he overcame, such that they can be translated into heaven without tasting death.

We have only two accounts in scripture of people holy enough to be translated into heaven without seeing death. Enoch and Elijah. Of Enoch it was said that he “walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” In the case of Moses, who sinned at the border of the promised land, he had to die but was later taken to heaven (cf., Jude 1:9; Luke 9:30). Elias (Elijah) was a kind of first-fruit representing those who will be translated to heaven without seeing death, and Moses of those who will come forth in the resurrection. Both men were seen with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. They talked with Jesus in his glorified state but not with man -- for the Bible forbids us to speak to the dead.

Now, perhaps you understand all of this and were simply playing “devil's advocate” in order to bring some important points to light. However, let me cite at least one example from the movies of how the depiction of evil in the kingdom of this world is contrary to the principles of God's kingdom.

We all cheer when good conquers evil in the movies. But typically the avenger is a self-styled vigilante whose sole purpose is to satisfy his own wrath rather than to uphold the law or glorify God. Although this type of scenario is played out time and time again in the movies it is an unacceptable social behavior in civilized countries punishable by law. Do you think this is pleasing to our lawmakers or our law enforcers? What about God whose laws govern the universe? The Lord says, “Vengeance is mine.”

    Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. – Romans 12:19-21 (KJV)

So we see in this one example, and I could cite others, that the purposes of those lessons taught by example in the movies are quite different from the purposes and principles of God. And we haven't touched yet on all of the cop shows which depict “dirty cops” who beat the perps and bend the law to suit themselves. Does this kind of portrayal affect our perception of cops and in turn affect the cops themselves? And, have you noticed how the wife has assumed the authoritative role in the TV home and the husband is portrayed as a babbling fool? I could go on and on. Does society shape the movies are do the movies shape society? Or both? Perhaps they are both walking down the road to perdition hand in hand.

Don't think we don't learn from movies and arcade games. The skills and principles are transferable from the screen to the brain in much the same manner as scripture transforms us from the image of the world into the image of God. Just last week here in my little town we had a six (6) year old boy take his mother's car keys and drive himself to school after missing the bus. He traveled over ten (10) miles, passing cars on two lane roads exceeding speeds of 70 MPH. He did finally crash just a few blocks from the school when he attempted to pass a tractor-trailer rig and was forced to swerve to avoid an oncoming car. Fortunately he wasn't hurt but his mother is in jail. When they asked him where he learned to drive he said, “Grand Theft Auto,” a game for his game-system. You would think that those physical skills would not be so readily transferable. Yet, here we find quite the contrary. I wonder how much more the principles of the world are instilled into our children by the constant bombardment of entertainment media. The success of advertising alone should be enough to make the case for subliminal suggestion. Smoking was once portrayed as something for the handsome and beautiful. (I heard recently that the “Marlboro Man” had cancer and renounced his prior endorsements. He later died. See ).

So let me summarize. The Bible indeed contains some of the worst sins recorded anywhere but those lessons do not glorify the sin but glorify God by showing the horrible consequences of sin and the mercy of God to forgive the repentant.

It may serve us well to establish just what repentance is. Repentance involves a sorrow for sin such that the heart is turned away from it and shuns it. Repentance is not merely sinning and then asking God to forgive us, then repeat the whole process over and over. That would be presumption – to think that God is obliged to forgive us simply because we ask (presumably to avoid punishment rather than out of love for God/Righteousness) even if we have no intention of turning from the sin. The work of God is to destroy the work of the devil who through fear of death has held us captive. That is the work given to Jesus – to destroy sin, the works of the devil.

    He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:8 (KJV)

So let's not go backward in time to mimic those situation which displeased God and brought on His wrath. But let's go forward towards the purity that awaits us in Christ Jesus. Let's draw a lesson from the past so that we might live for the future.

Paul warns the Corinthians of a period of testing like that of the Israelites' wandering

    Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.

    Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

    Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.

    Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

    Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

    Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. – 1 Cor 10:6-13 (KJV)

These Christians are warned against backsliding

    Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; . . . And this will we do, if God permit.

    For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. – Heb 6:1-6 (KJV)

True liberty is found in escaping the bondage of sin and is by faith in Jesus Christ. There is a false liberty which extols the mercy of God in “covering” our sins with His righteousness, but it treats lightly the subject of cleansing us from all iniquity.

    While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. – 2 Peter 2:19-22 (KJV)

Christ said that if he made us free we would be free indeed. We don't want the so-called freedom which leaves us in bondage. We want the freedom that is true, and lasting. The freedom that comes from Jesus Christ alone.

Let's not give our affections to the world and risk becoming entanled again in its pollution. Let's give our affections to Him who is worthy. The enemy brings death and contentions, but through Jesus Christ is life and peace.

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“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you."