How to go to hell

It’s quite simple, really. We’ve all grown up with the notion that all of our sins may be forgiven, and that God’s mercy is infinite. All one must do is ask. It turns out that there is just a little more to it than that. There is one sin that is so heinous as to condemn you to hell.

The sin? Blaspheming against the Holy Spirit. What, you ask? Isn’t the Holy Spirit the Comforter, the bringer of God’s grace to us? Well, yes, but when you curse Him, you are saying, to God Himself in the here and now, “go away, I don’t need your stinking grace!” And its off to gehenna with ye.

For those who don’t accept the notion of a literal hell, to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit is to announce, in no uncertain terms, that you and He are separate. Which is as good a definition of hell as there is.

The authority for this is found in Jesus’ words from Luke 12:10:

And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but the one who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

The context is Jesus’ warning against hypocrisy, and the notion that we fall into this unforgiveable sin when we may think we are doing God’s will but know, deep down, that we are not. As usual, one can’t improve on the words of our Lord (Luke 12:1-3):

1 “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 3 Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.

The message? Examine your hearts; root out the lies that you may not even be aware you are telling yourself about how faithful you have been. What’s really painful is the certain knowledge that you are the only person on the planet who can know with certainty what is in your heart, and make any needed corrections.

Oh, just in case you and I need help, wouldn’t you know there’s a handy user’s manual to loving God: the Bible.

Note: With apologies to my pastor, this is my take on the sermon he delivered this morning. Pastor Smith noted that he usually doesn’t preach on hell, but that this just had to be said…and he used Luke 12 as his authority. Glad he did.

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