Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Finite Sins?

Over the last two weeks we've looked at how to respond when someone denies the Bible's teaching about hell -- and why it's important to make the effort to defend that teaching. The last objection I want to consider today is the notion that our sins are finite -- and thus it would be unfair and unjust of God to inflict the infinite punishment of eternal suffering in hell for our finite sins.

Why is this important? Because if we buy this argument that our sins are finite, then Jesus' sufferings on the cross were totally unjustified -- and God the Father would be guilty of divine Child abuse. (At least that's what some hell-deniers argue to get us doubting what the Bible clearly teaches about hell).

I'll be the first to admit I would like to think my sins are finite, you know, minor things that impact no one but myself. The problem is no such sin exists. Each and every disobedience against God's Law sends ripples throughout creation. Of course, bigger sins like mass murders or the Nazi Holocaust send much larger waves that devastate many lives, but even our smallest sins and white lies send ripples of one sort or the other.

It is amazing how one careless comment can shatter one person's confidence, embolden another to sin, and severely damage an important relationship with someone else -- all at one fell swoop. Or consider how our rudeness or impatience at a restaurant can darken our server's mood, who then turns around and takes it out on other customers, staff, and family when they get home. Then those people have their moods darkened, and the ripples keep spreading.

Now, to be sure, sometimes we do nothing wrong, and people still take offense. That's not a sin on our part. We've been talking the last three weeks about people who are offended by what God has revealed about hell. That surely doesn't mean God was in the wrong for offending them.

The point is there is no such thing as a finite sin. One of the responses to our blog from two weeks ago said it extremely well:

"Every transgression has unintended and uncontrollable (eternal) consequences. Each transgression is like a domino. There is nothing that can stop the momentum of dominoes falling, nor the negative effects of sin in the world. Transgressions have infinite consequences; only someone who is just and sovereign can control the consequences of sin. Hell only exists because of rebellion against the Creator of everything."

And that brings me around to why we would want to talk about hell in the first place. We talk about hell so we can talk about God's solution to it. He didn't just abandon us to our well-deserved eternal fate. He gave His Son to pay that penalty in our place. When I consider Jesus' agony in the garden, the details of His suffering at the hands of the Jews and the Roman soldiers, and His crucifixion, I start to glimpse the mountain of sins I have committed. And when I multiply my sins by each person who has ever lived or will ever live, I see the incredible love and grace of Jesus who selflessly took that punishment upon Himself to set us all free.

As we approach another Thanksgiving, we can certainly cultivate a spirit of gratitude for all the material blessings we enjoy. That being said, I can't think of any other gift of God more deserving of our thanks and praise than His full and free forgiveness of our sins for Jesus' sake.

Our forgiveness is so utterly undeserved, we can scarcely take it in. After all, why would God care? Why not bring an end to humanity and be done with it? Thank heavens His ways are not our ways.

What about hell and God's offer of forgiveness to us? Any thoughts? If so, you can share them by clicking here and telling us about it.

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