Why Do Men Go to Hell?

Mike Miller




Prayer List

There is a great error being taught these days and it is presented as though it is some higher plane of spiritual thought. We hear more and more often that men are not condemned to hell because of their sin, but because of their unbelief. We read more and more articles promoting this confusing idea, also.

The first thing that should come to the mind of anyone who knows the Bible is the Scripture where Jesus said:

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. – John 3:17

God sent his Son into this world to save sinners, who were ALREADY condemned because of their SIN. The teaching that only the sin of unbelief sends people to hell is false. It conveys the idea that men are OK until they hear about Jesus and reject Him, THEN they are lost. Nothing could be farther from the truth. We were all condemned, because “all have sinned” and God gave us hope by sending his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. He is life – not death. Sin entered the world through Adam and “DEATH passed upon all men, FOR THAT ALL HAVE SINNED.” Men go to hell because they are sinners. Jesus came so that we might believe on Him and have eternal LIFE.

The verses in John 3:14-19 teach clearly that we are condemned UNLESS we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. This idea that “unbelief” is the only sin that sends men to hell is a distortion of that truth. If a man rejects Christ he is condemned and without hope, for there is no hope outside of Christ. It is like the man who was adrift in the ocean without a life preserver. A boat passed by and offered to pick him up but he refused. Later he drowned in the ocean and so it might be said that he died because he refused to get in the boat. The real reason he drowned was because he was adrift in the ocean without a life preserver. If the boat had not come along he would have drowned anyway. The boat was his one and only chance for survival and he rejected it. So to say he drowned because he didn’t get in the boat is not untrue, but it doesn’t really represent the whole truth of the situation. People don’t float in the ocean without a life preserver indefinitely. It is not a situation that is survivable without someone to rescue you. Sin is the same way. We are condemned already BECAUSE of our sin, and we have not availed ourselves of the only hope that exists for the sinner – faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the only way to heaven and our only hope.

John 3:18 18He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

The savage in the jungle who dies without hearing and believing the Gospel goes to hell. Very few believe that truth anymore. He goes to hell because he is a sinner and he never finds the door to heaven, which is Christ. He is condemned for his sin – and he is unfit for heaven, being a sinner. However, he is without excuse:

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: – Romans 1:20

When sinners hear that the ONLY sin that will send them to hell is unbelief the real message they hear is that their present sin doesn’t really matter to God. Their sinful habits and wicked heart are not what really bothers God and since God isn’t upset about their sin, why should they be? In their mind, it isn’t that they don’t believe. They think they DO believe, and that they WILL accept Jesus someday, but not today. They feel that they aren’t really rejecting Jesus – they are just procrastinating, and it is their SIN, which they love, that is causing them to procrastinate. Every sinner knows in his heart that he must give up his sin in order to obtain Christ. The Holy Spirit of God NEVER tells a sinner he can keep his sin and be saved – only mislead and wicked people do that.

Unbelief isn’t the one and only sin that condemns the souls of men, but it is the LAST sin that men commit on their way to hell. Christ should never be presented in such a way that men can blame Him for their condemnation, but as the One who came to save us from what we have done to ourselves with our sin. Christ came that we might have LIFE. He came so that “whosoever believeth on Him might not perish, but have everlasting life.” He came to shine a light in the darkness, where we were all already condemned. He loved us, while we were yet sinners. We were in a mess before Jesus came and because He came, and because He lives, we have hope. He didn’t come to condemn us, but to save us from our sins, which had brought the sentence of eternal death upon us all. This is the true message of the Gospel and when Jesus is lifted up this way He will draw all men unto himself.

The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. Matt. 4:16

Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. Luke 1:78-79

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