This image came across my Facebook newsfeed the other day. The friend who posted it is not a Christian, and so naturally mocking of Christians and jokes about Hell being cool ensued. After much deliberation I decided against commenting, to either explain or decry the things this sign says and how Christianity doesn’t say what this sign implies, but just seeing it made me want to strangle someone. Someone (who isn’t God) decided that certain people who do certain things are on a one-way street to Hell, and by the look of the sign, Hell is pretty jolly about getting them.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there isn’t some truth there, but the creators of this sign took a couple things that are true, made some stuff up, and made a broad generalization about the people who do any of those things. Take, for example, “pot heads.” Pot isn’t even referenced in the Bible. You could make some inferences about what God thinks about smoking pot based on other Scriptures, like those addressing drunkenness, but you can’t say the Bible says never smoke pot or you’re going to Hell, because it doesn’t.
Or “sports nuts.” I can’t even think of a way to justify claiming that being a fan of sports, even a rabid, ridiculously involved fan, is a sin that will send you straight to Hell.
But aside from the sheer absurdity of some of the claims, there’s also what this sign doesn’t tell you. Now, some of the things on this list are legitimate. God speaks clearly about sin, and even has some lists and says there is no place in the kingdom of Heaven for people who participate in them.
But what this sign doesn’t say is that this list isn’t comprehensive. The makers of this sign picked a list of sins and things they didn’t like and assigned everyone who does any of them a spot in Hell, but the fact is, everyone sins. There are millions of other sins that also separate us from God. There are infinite ways in which every one of us, every day, earns a spot in Hell.
This sign seems to suggest that if you make a checklist like this one and avoid the sins on it, then you’re not going to Hell, but in reality, the only way to avoid Hell is by the grace of God. The sins on this list don’t separate you from God any more than “little” sins, like gossip or slander. Every sin separates us from God, and it is only by faith in His Son through His grace that we are able to avoid Hell.
Ultimately, when it comes down to it, the sin that sends us to Hell is rejection of Jesus Christ. All others are forgiven when we accept Him.
But, lest you think I’m being permissive, or that I’m saying living in sin doesn’t matter, stay tuned next week for the other side of this.