Can a Sinful Man go to Hell on His Own?

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Heavenly Pilgrim, Feb 24, 2007.

  1. Heavenly Pilgrim

    Heavenly Pilgrim
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    “Without me ye can do nothing.”

    These words are often presented as evidence that sinful man is completely helpless, often described as a log floating down a stream. My question to the list is, can a man go to hell on his own, or does God have to help him go to hell, seeing that sinful man is dead and can do nothing on his own according to the way some interpret this passage?
     
  2. Helen

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    The problem here is with the definition of 'dead'. A dead man is a man separated. If you are physically dead, you are separated from your body. Your body may be discarded and rotting, but you go on. If you are spiritually dead, you are separated from God. You are not spiritually rotting or unconscious.

    A man goes to hell not for sinning, according to the Bible, but for refusing to believe in Christ as Savior and Redeemer and God Himself. This is not only explicitely stated in John 3:16-21, but by Jesus Himself when talking to the Jews in John 8:23-25:

    But he continued, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am [the one I claim to be] [note: the Greek here is the double 'I am' -- ego eimi -- translated I am I am], you will indeed die in your sins."
    "Who are you?" they asked.
    "Just what I have been claiming all along," Jesus replied.

    In other words, an unbeliever dies IN his sins, but is not condemned BECAUSE of them. What he is condemned for is unbelief:

    "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."

    If you cross reference this with Romans 1, you will see that God's anger is being poured out on those who SUPPRESS the truth. In other words, it is what you do with the truth that you are presented with which will make all the difference in the long run. If you live by the truth that you know, God the Father will lead you to the Son, and you can either accept or reject Him. If you prefer the lie, then that is what you will get, and with it the consequence of that lie: condemnation.
     
  3. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: You raise many great issues in your post. Let me see if we can tackle the first one.

    I can not tell you how many times I have heard preachers say, ‘dead men have no wills and make no choices.’ It would seem that you might not agree with this statement? Do those separated from God have wills and make choices, or are they predestined from birth to sin and that continually?
     
  4. Helen

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    I presume your preacher is talking about spiritually dead men. If that is the case, there is a definite problem with some Bible passages. In Isaiah 1, for instance, starting at verse 18, we see the Lord Himself saying:

    "Come now, let us reason together," says the Lord.
    "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow;
    though they are red as crimson, they shall be ilke wool.
    If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land;
    but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword."
    For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

    Is this being addressed to those who are spiritually dead? If not, then why is the Lord saying what He is saying about the consequences of 'if you are willing and obedient' or not?

    Go to the book of Hebrews in the New Testament. In chapters 3 and 4, we find repeated several times the plea, "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts." That means their hearts are not yet hard. But these are clearly not saved people he is writing to! And that means they can hear, can choose, and turn to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the subject of all the chapters in this book.

    There are many more passages indicating the same sort of thing. But I hope that helps a little.
     
  5. BobRyan

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    God sovereignly chooses to "Draw ALL mankind to Himself" so the sinner that "goes to hell anyway" must "say no to the drawing of God" to get there.

    in Christ,

    Bob
     
  6. Helen

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    I don't find that in the Bible, Bob. What I find is that all men are invited, but only those who want the truth are drawn to Christ.
     
  7. webdog

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    I don't see the significant difference between drawn and invited as it pertains to salvation.

    The Bible says that no man can come to Christ unless drawn. How can someone be invited, then, without being drawn first?

    John 12:32 does imply that all mankind are drawn.
     
  8. DQuixote

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    #2 by Helen is excellent. Period.

    I'm having some problems sorting out post #5, #6, and #7.

    Standing by!!!
     
  9. webdog

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    ...as am I :)
     
  10. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Excellent observations Helen. So let’s see if we can solidify some issues here regarding the will of men that are spiritually dead.

    In Isaiah 1, "Come now, let us reason together," says the Lord.
    "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow;
    though they are red as crimson, they shall be ilke wool.
    If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land;
    but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword."
    For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.


    HP: It would appear from this passage that the spiritually dead:
    • Can understand the lost position they are in via the condemnation of sin and understand that they are separated from their God
    • Spiritually dead me can reason on their own, and consider and weigh spiritual insight from God.
    • They possess the necessary abilities requisite of obedience, and do not have to wait until God does anything further to respond in obedience to what they have already understood
    • Spiritually dead men can resist the insight of the Holy Spirit, refuse to live up to the light they have been granted, rebel and subsequently be lost




    In Hebrews 3&4 we read:"Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts." We can properly assume that spiritually dead men
    • Can hear on their own if words are spoken to them by God
    • They can exercise reason and weigh influences.
    • Choose to harden their hearts
    • They can choose to exercise willing obedience

    Are we in agreement here?
     
  11. Helen

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    Maybe it's just me...

    When I invite someone, there is sort of an implication of distance involved. You are invited to join me at....for....etc. etc. The person is invited to come, and a yes or no response is equally valid and acceptable.

    I see Matthew 11:26 as an invitation: "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you wil find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

    When I think of 'drawn', I think more of something like a magnet, something a little more compelling. In John 12:32, Jesus is talking and [in context] says "Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.

    Now, I just asked my husband to see how he is thinking about this and he checked the word used in the Greek. The word for 'draw' in that verse is different from the word translated 'draw' in some other verses. It is Strongs #1670 helko, or helkuo. It is from a root meaning to prefer or choose. Thus, on the cross, Christ is choosing all men for Himself, making it possible for ALL men to come to Him, just as Hebrews says, tasting death for all.

    Thus the meaning, at least in the Greek, is not that all men are actually drawn to Christ as we think of the verb now, but it is part of the explanation that all men are covered by the atonement of Christ's sacrifice. Thus the choice would then be available for each and every man who ever lived regarding the truth and acceptance of either God's Promise (before the Cross) or the Fulfilled Promise, Christ Jesus, after the Cross.
     
  12. Helen

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    HP, the only thing I would be hesitant about agreeing with you here, and it may be simply a matter of semantics, is that I don't think any of us can obey Christ without being empowered by the Holy Spirit. The most any man can do is WANT to obey. Although we can see clearly that unsaved men can obey laws to some extent, at least outwardly, God's law, which shows us what sin is, is impossible for any of us to fulfill, saved or not! Only Christ could do that!

    But in Christ, and when we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, we are put on the path to spiritual maturity whereby we learn to obey and slowly but surely become transformed to the image of our Lord.

    In short, although a man can respond to the truth, and to God, with a want, a desire, we are essentially pretty helpless creatures when it comes to following through on anything good. That takes Christ in us.

    The concept of free will is simply will, not action. I am free to want. I am not therefore empowered to fulfill that want!

    Does that make sense?
     
  13. DQuixote

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    One MUST prayerfully, spiritually evaluate every God-breathed word. Just a comment in passing as I go do something else for a while.

    :wavey:
     
  14. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Does the verse say, “ You cannot be willing and obedient, but rather only ‘want to?’ What good is a desire if it cannot be fulfilled? That sounds like hell to me, a place where desire abounds but the soul lacks the bodily connections to carry out those desires. This verse speaks not only to being willing or having a desire, but in being obedient, does it not? Does it say that we can desire to be willing but cannot be obedient until God grants to us some special ability that we are at present lacking?



    HP: If man does not possess the abilities to fulfill the laws and commands of God, he cannot be punished for failure to do so. Scripture is clear. God states that our “sins have separated us from God.” God states the His laws are not grievous, and that they are not beyond our abilities to perform. You make God out to be some taskmaster, demanding the impossible from man and then punishing them in an eternal hell for failure to do what was impossible for them to accomplish.




    HP: The question is not whether or not we accomplish anything good asspiritually dead creatures, but rather is it because we could not or we would not.



    HP: You confuse the sensibilities with the will. Desire, in and of itself, may not have anything at all to do with the will. Your stomach may desire food, etc. The sensibilities present all sorts of desires that our will is called upon every day to examine and act in an appropriate and reasonable manner in spite of any and all mere desire. There is not one ounce of freedom in mere desire of the sensibilities, for they are necessitated impulses that lie outside of the realm of freedom all together. You are not free to feel the pains of hunger for instance, they are again, necessitated. The will on the other hand, if one is a moral agent, one is free to chose between two or more alternatives without force or coercion. The will has the God given ability to be ‘the cause’ of ones chosen intents and subsequent actions.

    It is true that we can have desires, and even chose to form intents for an object, etc. that we may not ultimately be empowered or have the opportunity to carry out. For instance, one may form and intent to lust in their heart but the opportunity may never arise to actually carry out that intent. Just the same it can be rightfully said that we were free not only to desire, but to form an intent to carry out the lustful thought.

    In morals, this ability to formulate and chose ones intents is the seat of all morality. Morality lies not in the mere existence of desire, or in the impulses of the sensibilities, but rather in the formation of intents to carry out ones desires.
     
    #14 Heavenly Pilgrim, Feb 24, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 24, 2007
  15. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Everyone is drawn to God and truth by mere conviction, intuitive understanding, and revealed knowledge of some kind or degree. That does not mean that all have heard the gospel and thereby able to respond to that gospel. God draws men to knowledge of Himself by all sorts of means, nature, the universe, etc,. yet this again cannot be confused with being drawn to salvation which must come by having the plan explained to us first.

    No man can come to God without God drawing, or revealing some truth of Himself to them in some fashion. This does not mean that all men have not been enlightened by God concerning the salvation message. If man has the opportunity to hear the gospel, they can naturally, with the abilities and understanding granted to all men, hear and respond to the gospel message.

    I would say that all men are indeed drawn to God, but all men are not drawn to salvation. Men must hear, or have the gospel presented to them via the senses they possess, to be drawn to salvation, or so it would appear to me from my reading of Scripture.
     
  16. Helen

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    HP, since you had your mind made up, why did you ask the questions?

    Never mind. We are leaving now to take our granddaughter out for her birthday dinner and a new outfit.

    Take care.
     
  17. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Where does the point of separation from God start Bob? Are you telling me that one must reject an offer of salvation in order to become a fit candidate for hell? That is exactly what is implied if you make the damning sin something other than what Scripture states it is. “ Your sins have separated you from God.”

    The rejection of Jesus Christ and the gospel message is not the damning sin. The damning sin is the first choice of willful rebellion against a known commandment of God. “Isa 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way;”
     
  18. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: Thanks Helen. As they say, there is nothing better than seeing the headlights of our grandchildren coming, ……………………………………..other than the taillights of them leaving. :laugh: Just kidding!!:laugh:

    The wife and I went shopping with one of our grandchildren this afternoon. It was great! Have fun!
     
  19. donnA

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    I've never seen a dead man do anything but lay there, they are slaves to their situation, unable to make decisions.
    Man sins well enough all on his own, with anyones help, all men sin, so man on his own is a slave to sin, dead in his sin.
    I think of the dead dry bones in Isaiah, did they choose to come alive, did they have any say in it whatsoever?
     
    #19 donnA, Feb 24, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 24, 2007
  20. Heavenly Pilgrim

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    HP: You and I seem to have a great disagreement on what constitutes a rebel. Rebels are not just some passive individual laying somewhere doing nothing, unable to make decisions. Your depiction is certainly not the picture I have gained from the prophets of old, Jesus, or the apostles. Wicked men are actively involved in their own demise, not of force or coercion, but of their own wicked selfishness, their blatant opposition to known commandments of God.
     

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