In all of the religious pomp and rhetoric that has existed for centuries, it seems as though one simple undeniable truth has been lost, “People go to hell because of their sin.” This is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that, “People go to hell because of their sin.” So much has been made about the road to salvation, that the road to perdition (Mt. 7:15) has become lost in the shadows. “People go to hell because of their sin.” It is because this one simple truth has been lost or forgotten, “People go to hell because of their sin.”, that most in the secular and religious world believe that a “good moral person” will go to heaven, and that a good moral person will not go to hell. While many things could be as far away from the truth, nothing could be further.
Punishment is for those who do wrong. In a perfect world, only those who do wrong would be punished and none would escape justice. Our world, ruled by Satan (Eph. 2:2) and sinful men (Pro. 11:31), is not a perfect world. The New Heavens and Earth (II Pt. 3:13), ruled by the perfect God, is a world of perfection (Rev. 21:1-7). So here on the earth you may have the innocent who are punished where the guilty walk free, but such is not the case with heaven and hell. Here, injustice may reign supreme as we all know; but there, there is no such thing as injustice. God is just and perfect, and punishment is for those who do wrong (Dt. 32:4).
A child will not be in hell. A child is not guilty. A child does no wrong. A child is innocent of guilt. There are no children in hell. A child is not a good moral person… a child is an innocent soul. The reason a child would be in heaven (II Sam. 12:23) is not because they are a good moral person, but because they are an innocent soul. Jesus Christ tells us that we cannot see heaven unless we are like them (Mt. 18:3&10). Why? Because children are good moral people? Children cannot even comprehend true morality! No, it is because they are innocent souls (I Cor. 14:20) “People go to hell because of their sin.” Children do not go to hell. Not because they are good moral people… but because they have no sin. (I Jn. 3:4)
Good morals do not negate sin. Good morals do not take away sin. Good morals might help one to avoid sin, but good morals do not take away sin already committed. Jerry Sandusky is a convicted child molester. Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulted about a dozen innocent vulnerable children. Jerry Sandusky also started a charity that has been around for 30 years and helped over a million children. In comparison to a million, a dozen is rather negligible isn’t it? Yet who in their right (and just) mind would say, “Because Jerry Sandusky was a good moral person in helping a million children, he is therefore guiltless in molesting a few.” Could anything be more absurd? The “good moral” deeds he did, do not negate the “bad immoral” deeds that he did. What if it was only one child? What if it was only one child one time? Could all the good Jerry Sandusky did; then absolve him of the guilt of the bad? No perfect, righteous, just person could answer “Yes”.
“People go to hell because of their sin.” People don’t go to hell for the sin of others. They go to hell because of their own sin (Ez. 18:20-24). People are condemned to hell, not because of “sins” (the amount / quantity), they go to hell because of “sin” (the fact of it, the singularity). The person who has sinned a thousand times is guilty. The person who sins a hundred times is guilty. The person who has sinned just once… is guilty. (Rom. 3:10&23) “People go to hell because of their sin.” When we stand before a perfect, righteous, just judge in God (Ps. 7:11; II Tim. 4:8), those who are stained with sin will go to hell (Jer. 2:22; James 1:27). To believe, and or preach, that a “good moral person” will go to heaven is to preach salvation by works of boasting apart from the grace and love of God in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:8-9). If one’s good works apart from the gospel makes them worthy of heaven and absolves them of sin and guilt; then what is the need for Jesus? Furthermore, if one’s good works makes them worthy of heaven; what does their sin make them worthy of? (Rom. 6:23)
Cornelius is described as a devout and God-fearing man by the Lord (Acts 10:2, 31). What greater commendation of being a “good moral person” could one ask for than that?! Yet, this righteous man had a problem, and that problem was his sin. All the good moral righteous things he did were not enough to take away his sin, the guilt of his sin, the punishment of his sin… hell. So by the Lord’s grace Cornelius and his household heard the gospel message preached (Acts 11:14). What gospel message? The gospel message of salvation in Christ Jesus? Why is it of salvation? Because it takes away sin (Acts 10:43; Rom. 10:10; Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19; etc.), and when sin is taken away then heaven can be in your future! When obedience to the gospel removes sin from one’s life, it takes away the penalty of sin as well, the eternal death, eternal separation from God, and eternal damnation in hell. (II Thess. 1:7-9)
The difference between those who are in heaven or hell is not sin. There will be sinners in heaven (I Tim. 1:15) just as there will be sinners in hell. The difference is the gospel. (Acts 22:16; I Cor. 6:9-11) The sinners who have accepted the gospel will be in heaven, and those who have rejected it will be in hell. (Luke 16:10-31) Why? Not because they rejected the gospel, but because by rejecting the gospel they were still lost in sin. (Jn 8:24; 8:31; 3:5) “People go to hell because of their sin.” Don’t forget that! The good moral person goes to hell; not because they haven’t done enough good moral stuff, but because of the sin in their life. The good moral person goes to hell: not because they haven’t done enough good moral stuff, but because they haven’t done the one good moral thing that actually matters… obey God. (Heb. 5:9; Ja. 1:12; Mk. 16:15-16) “People (even good moral people) go to hell because of their sin.” It is not mean, it is not harsh, it is not unjust, it is not uncaring or unloving… it is fact… it is truth… devoid of agenda or emotion and full of undeniable scriptural reality. Now obey the gospel NOW… so you won’t go to hell forever. (II Pt. 3:9-11)