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All Sin Deserves Hell
Cancer is a devastating problem all across the world. It is a ruthless disease that will end in death if not treated (and even sometimes with treatment). But how does someone get cancer?
Cells are the little building blocks that make up your entire body. They contain little factories that are responsible for making hormones, proteins, cellular signals, immune system components, electrical activity to keep our hearts beating, among many other things that enable our bodies to work the way they do. Cells don’t have a very long lifespan, however. They can only do their job for so long before they die. As a result, we need to replace old cells with new cells so our bodies can keep functioning. Cells have the ability to replicate themselves; even though we haven’t figured out human cloning (and hopefully, we never will), our cells sure do a good job of cloning themselves.
This cellular division is known as mitosis or meiosis, depending on the type of cell that is dividing – without it, we wouldn’t survive very long at all! However, cell division is also regulated. It is important for our cells to only divide when we need them to, so there are several checkpoints in place within every cell. When a cell is “deciding” if it can divide, it runs through the checkpoints. If it passes all the checkpoints, then the division process takes place. If it fails even one of the checkpoints, the cell does not divide, and in some cases is destroyed so that it won’t cause problems. Check out this quick video that walks through this process:
So, what does all this have to do with cancer? Cancer has a beginning – no one wakes up one day suddenly with Stage IV metastatic cancer spread over their whole body. The way that cancer begins is that one of the checkpoints inside of a cell breaks. Not a big deal, right? There’s several other checkpoints. But once one of the checkpoints breaks, the other checkpoints in the cell are more susceptible to breaking as well. When all the checkpoints are broken, the cell no longer has anything inside it that will stop it from dividing. The result? Uncontrolled, unregulated cellular division. When a cell divides, it makes an exact copy of itself. So, when a cell that has no working checkpoints divides into two cells, neither of these cells have functional checkpoints. That means both cells will then divide uncontrollably into four cells that will divide uncontrollably into eight cells, and the cycle continues. This is how someone develops cancer. It just takes one error to set the cell on a course that leads to death and destruction.
This website has tons of good information on how cancer develops, leading theories, the differences between the various kinds of cancers, etc. if you are interested in learning more:
So, why am I giving you a cancer biology lesson? This has been one of the greatest analogies for me to help understand and explain how ALL sin is deserving of hell. In the other article for this week, I explained how Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death…” where death refers to eternal death, spending forever after this life in hell.
I hear these kinds of ideas from people all the time about hell:
- How is it fair that one little sin would send someone to a place where they are in conscious torment forever and ever with no hope of escape?
- I understand why someone like Hitler deserve to go to hell, but I certainly don’t deserve to go to hell because I’ve never done anything that bad.
- I make mistakes here and there – everyone’s human. But hell? No way would a good loving God send me there!
However, the Bible is very clear that ALL people deserve to go to hell for their sins (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23). So, how do we understand this?
Sin spreads like cancer
It is hard to imagine how one lie would make a person worthy of hell. But here’s the connection point to our lesson today on cancer – just as one small defect in the cell’s checkpoint is the first step to uncontrolled division, cancer, and death, one small sin is the first step to uncontrolled sinful behavior, which produces much devastation and death. One sin is not really the main problem – it is that sin produces more and more sin until it destroys everything it touches.
Let’s look back at the very beginning again, before there was any sin in the world. Adam and Eve are in the Garden, everything is perfect and provided for them, and there is nothing they lack. They have one rule.
“…but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:17)
And what do they do?
“The woman saw that the tree was good for food and delightful to look at, and that it was desirable for obtaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” (Genesis 3:6)
This seems like a rather inconsequential thing. They just ate one piece of fruit, why is that such a big deal? The problem is that God knows everything – He knows what is good and what is not, and He asked us to trust that He is always right. When Adam and Eve questioned whether or not God was correct in what He said about the tree, it set the stage for all of humanity to continue doing the same. Their sin spread like cancer to all of us.
Now, when someone is wondering if stealing is a good idea or not, they can look at what God says:
“You shall not steal.” (Exodus 20:15)
Then, they can think to themselves, “But I have reasons, and it’s not good most of the time, but in this situation it actually is good, so I’m going to do it.”
Because of our sin, we do not trust God, and we disobey Him, even though He is the author of life and the judge of what is good and what is evil. But we decided to become our own judges of good and evil, and it turns out we do a very poor job.
Earthly consequences of sin are not equal, but the eternal consequence is the same
One idea that naturally flows from saying that all sin deserves hell is that, if the mass genocide Hitler committed and my lie both deserve hell, then is my lie just as bad as killing people? The short answer is no. Different sins definitely bear different consequences here on the earth. Obviously, lying to someone has much less of a negative impact on them than if you kill them, or someone close to them! So in that respect, not all sins are equal, in terms of their effect on people in this life. But, before God, all sin equally separates us from Him, for the reasons described above.
God has an eternal plan of salvation, and our sin ruins it
The final point I’ll make about all this is a reminder about what God is doing in the face of our sin. He is trying to create a new heaven and new earth for us:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4)
Sounds pretty great doesn’t it? The only way that this is possible is if the new heaven and earth are completely free of all sin. That’s how it was in the beginning for Adam and Eve – but remember what happened? They ate a piece of fruit they weren’t supposed to eat, and that one sin spread like cancer, completely devastating this world. God cannot allow even a single sin to enter into heaven because, if He does, it will spread and completely destroy the perfect heaven He is trying to create for us. This is why our sin sends us to hell. This is why God can’t just overlook sin and let us into heaven anyway. This is why God had to kill His perfect Son, Jesus, on a cross in order to pay for our sins, to remove them from us so we won’t bring them into heaven.
For more information, check out this article: