Escape the Condemnation of Hell According to the Word of God in the Bible
There are many Christian sects in the world, each with its own rules and interpretations on how you should live. Many sects choose to focus on the way they say the Word of God says that he "has appointed a day in the which all men shall be judged in righteousness." If you follow such a sect, you may wonder if you are ready for that day. Whether those sects are correct or not, and whether you are ready for the things they believe in or not, you can be almost assured that you will die eventually; and who knows, maybe they are even correct, and "it is appointed for man once to die, and then the judgment."
Some will note that Jesus asked this pointed and rhetorical question: "How shall ye escape the condemnation of hell?" Differing sects attach differing degrees of importance to this (as with all aspects of the Bible), but it may be worth considering!
The people who focus on it note that his disciples even asked him at one point, "Who then can be saved?"
And they further note that "But Jesus beheld [them], and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible." According to the most popular interpretation, this is Jesus revealed to thing the great news -- that he came to save sinners!
Some Christian beliefs have it that all have sinned; some even hold that the proof of your sin is that you will die. Ten out of ten die. One quote that the people who believe in this line of thought find particularly meaningful is "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ." "For he hath made him sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
If you follow this line of belief, the question that begs to be answered then is, "What must we do to be saved?" The answer from the word of God is hotly disputed between sects, but a generally-accepted aspect within almost all branches of Christianity is "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." (Some, though, hold that your belief alone is not enough to save your entire house.)
- Before you start, it is important to decide which faith and interpretation of the Bible you want to follow. There are almost as many of them as there are Christians, and many are wildly divergent. Some people say that choosing wrong will only condemn you to hell even deeper, so think carefully! Additionally, make sure that Christianity is the religion you want to follow, and that you want to avoid the Christian hell. Many other faiths have contradictory mystical frameworks for the universe, and if theirs are correct and Christianity isn't, you could be condemning yourself to suffering or cutting yourself off from the truth by following the wrong faith. *However, above all else in this phony article, pay attention to this one statement found in the book of Jeremiah: "You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all of your heart." God rewards a person who sincerely and with all of his heart seeks and cries out to Him for understanding and wisdom, no matter who they are. He is a merciful God. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." If you're reading this merely for comedy, however, and have no sincere heart for truth or wisdom, read on and have a good laugh.*
- Many modern Christian denominations do not believe in a literal 'hell', holding it to be (for example) a metaphor. Even if you hold to such a denomination, though, these guidelines may still be useful, since it is presumably a metaphor for something -- a state of mind, a state of being, or some such thing -- that you should avoid.
- Some Christian faiths hold that simple beliefs are enough to be saved; others (such as Calvinism) hold that whether you are saved or not is decided at birth and cannot be changed. In fact, if you follow Calvinism, there is absolutely nothing that this article can do to help you either way, so we'll assume you don't.
- If you choose a sect of Christianity that requires it, then repent of your sins.
These sects claim that the Word of God tells us that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." To be saved, you will need to understand and acknowledge your sin. We know this because "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." God's Word tells us that we "would not have known sin except it were for the law." Without looking into the mirror of God's holy law, you won't know what sin is.
To get started, try looking into the great canons of God's Holy Law -- sometimes called the Ten Commandments.
One warning when following the ten commandments, though: The Bible does not actually provide numbering for them. Because of this, different sects of Christianity (as well as other biblical religions, such as Islam and Judaism) group number them differently, resulting in slightly different sets of commandments that contain the same general rules.
In most numberings, though, one of them says "thou shalt not bear false witness or lie." Another tells us "thou shalt not steal." Have you ever used God's name in vain? If you ever used his name for a curse word, that's called blasphemy. God warns us that he will not hold him guiltless who taketh his name in vain. Ever dishonored your parents? Perhaps you even used blasphemy to curse your parents in the same instance. What about murder and adultery? Maybe you believe you're guiltless of those sins, but Jesus said that if you hate your brother without a cause you're guilty of murder in your heart. Some people interpret this to mean that God looks at your heart. Jesus also said if you've ever looked at a woman to lust after her, you've committed adultery in your heart.
Using the most common numbering, God's first commandment is to love him and to have no other gods before him. Obviously, if you have other gods before him, you should be consulting the articles on those gods, not this one. If you've not kept the sabbath day holy, you might need to weigh your actual commitment to your religion, and decide whether or not it is really for you.
When you've really examined yourself in the light of God's holy law, and you are truly penitent, then you can begin to understand why you need to be saved from God's wrath. You can be saved from God's wrath. Many people feel that simply saying that "Jesus loves you" if you're an impenitent sinner or that "God loves the sinner but hates the sin" is not enough. They will argue that you won't find those phrases in God's word. Under their interpretation, the Word of God says that he who does not believe on the Son of God is condemned already, and that the wrath of God abides (remains) upon him. The Word of God says that the "the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." Other sects of Christianity feel that this is metaphorical, and that all people are eventually saved. You, like these sects, may feel that casting people into an eternal lake of fire for idolatry is rather harsh. If you do, you may want to consider joining such a sect, or even abandoning your religion entirely.
Now, if you've reached this step, still believe in God, and still believe in the sect and interpretation of Christianity that you started with, you should continue doing whatever it requires. Some sects focus on the concept of humbling yourself before a mighty God and repenting, so if yours does, do that. Some focus in the importance of turning from your sin and forsaking it, so if your faith requires this, do it! Most Christian faiths also require that you turn toward Jesus Christ, so you will almost certainly have to do that at some point in the process, assuming you want to remain a Christian.
- If the sect of Christianity that you chose in the first step requires it, then confess the Lord Jesus.
Many sects hold that Jesus Christ was crucified for your sins; they note the quote "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ." Jesus said, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." "For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." People who say this to you in person and believe it will often add "Amen, amen, Jesus Christ came to save sinners." They may go on to quote "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
"If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
- If it is part of your rituals, then you might have to receive the grace of God.
Some Christian sects say that for you to receive salvation, it takes a work of Christ, and not merely yourself; others hold that you can do it by yourself. If you follow a Christian sect that requires it, believe therefore on Jesus. Some faiths require more than simply believing that Jesus existed (though, depending on your background, even that might require considerable will); they require that you TRUST Jesus as Savior, and that you believe that his work of salvation is sufficient for you. If you find yourself incapable of doing this, consider a different religion, or consider becoming an agnostic or atheist.
- If you choose a version of Christianity that believes it is necessary, then you could be baptized. This is a great way to get introduced to the Kingdom of God by being identified with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Be careful not to trust a work like baptism for salvation -- you need Jesus to do the saving. Some sects say that baptism is necessary for salvation, and others do not; make sure you know which one you are following! People who believe it is necessary and people who hold that it isn't may tell you that you have endangered yourself and possibly even damned yourself entirely if you use the other team's type of baptism.
- Depending on your sect, try watching! Jesus said, "For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock's crowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch."
- Don't be led astray by people who claim to know the truth, but do not; examine all religions and religious claims (including, of course, this one) with a critical eye, and give them all fair and equal consideration. If you accept any faith without due criticism and without considering all alternatives, you could be trapped in "another gospel" which is no gospel at all; this would cause your religious exercises to be (at best) useless, and perhaps even actively harmful. Be careful and receive only those who you believe to be correct.
- As a larger issue, however, note that a foolproof indication that a set of beliefs is complete and utter claptrap is this: Even its followers are concerned that you may no longer agree with them if you associate with people, or read books (or enjoy other media), or have experiences that expose you to other beliefs. A disinclination to let your position compete in the "marketplace of ideas" is the surest sign of its weakness--in logic, assumptions or both. Therefore, you may want to question the argumentation of someone who recommends that you "receive only those who abide" in a particular faith or stand.
- If your faith requires it, don't neglect to show your faith by works. Indeed, some interpretations say that you can be saved entirely by works! "This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men." Titus 3:8
- Don't be led astray from the simplicity of the gospel. On the other hand, don't be led astray from the complexity of the gospel, either -- or of any religious text! Consider the complexity of all religious texts carefully.
- Most Christian sects council you to avoid unbelief (although some, such as Unitarians, hold that it is not a problem.) If you choose to reject God's Word, and the more draconian interpretations of Christianity are true, you make him out to be a liar and you do so at your own peril. (If you reject the Christian God's existence entirely, though, or believe in a different God, you won't be making him out to be a liar, at least. Obviously. In that case, consult the article appropriate to your religion or lack thereof.) This is, according to some people, the testimony that God has given us. "If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." 1 John 5:9-13