12/31/14 Dillon 19
When asked if they believe they will go to heaven, many people respond by saying “Well, I haven’t killed anybody!” What they are assuming is that, although they know they aren’t perfect, they really aren’t that bad, either. Dillon, the young man I talk to in this video, is a great example of that. He says that he hasn’t committed any major sins, and believes his chances of going to heaven are pretty good. He has attended a protestant church his whole life, but like many he believes in the Catholic notion of “mortal sins” as opposed to “venial sins” – much like the criminal idea of a “felony” as opposed to a “misdemeanor”. In this way of thinking, sin is categorized according to its severity, and a mortal sin will very likely result in condemnation while a venial sin just a slap on the wrist. This is based on a misinterpretation of John 5, which reads “There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.” What sins lead to death and hell? Off the top of his head, Dillon listed murder and adultery as examples. But if that is the case, as Jesus taught in Matthew 5, anyone who has spoken in anger or had lustful thoughts would be guilty. The fact is, the only sin that leads to death is unforgiven sin, which means all sins potentially qualify - should we refuse to receive that forgiveness – and all sins are potentially disqualified since there is no sin that is so bad that Jesus’ sacrifice is not worthy to pay the high cost of that forgiveness. Jesus speaks of this in Matthew 12:31: “And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.” This “blasphemy against the Spirit” is the rejection of the prompting of the Spirit that leads us to receive the forgiveness found only in Jesus. Dillon wrongly assumes this forgiveness can be bought through good behavior, so I took him through a few of the Ten Commandments to help him see his guilt and need for the Savior. In the end, I don’t believe I did a very good job of impressing on Dillon, or, after we turned off the camera, on his girlfriend Cindy, their need for repentance and faith in Jesus, but I do think they will rethink their idea that they are good people simply because they “haven’t murdered anybody”!