Why in the world would someone believe in hell? And what exactly does it mean to “believe” in hell? These are a couple of the questions we want to answer in this ten-part series of posts. We’ve looked at REASON #1 — I got saved out of a fear of hell. We’ve also thought about REASON #2 – Hell makes sense. We’ve also considered REASON #3 — How does the doctrine of hell relate to the doctrine of God? We also touched on REASON #4 – How does the doctrine of eternal lostness relate to the doctrine of Man?
Let’s look at REASON #5 this morning — How does the doctrine of eternal hell relate to the doctrine of sin (hamartiology)? SIN explains a lot in life: our brokenness, the fractured condition of society and politics and governments, our sense of guilt that we try to cover up with entertainment or drugs or sports, our need to self-justify, our habit of favorably comparing ourselves to others less “sinful”, our need to euphemize the very concept of transgression or iniquity or rebellion, our empty hope that our good will outweigh our bad at the judgment of God, etc.
SIN cost the Son of God’s life on the cross! SIN plunged the whole universe into a fallen condition (creation “groans”, waiting for the New Heavens and the New Earth, Romans 8:19). To minimize our SIN must minimize the cross. Did Christ’s sacrificial death overpay to redeem us? No! He bore our sins in His own body on the tree, I Peter 2:24. The Second Person of the Divine Trinity took upon Himself a perfect human body for the express purpose of paying the SIN-debt that we owed! No other religion offers that kind of Savior.
J.C. Ryle’s justly famous volume, Holiness, begins with a statement to this effect: “He would make great strides in holiness must first consider the greatness of sin.” Ryle, writing at the end of nineteenth century was merely reflecting what Anselm of Canterbury had written in the early middle-ages. Attempting to answer the question, Why did God become man (Cur Deus Homo), Anselm has a famous line put to one character (aptly called Boso) which goes like this: Nondum considerasti quantum ponderis sit peccatum. Roughly translated that means, “You have not yet considered the gravity of sin.” Boso’s inability to see the necessity for the Lord Jesus Christ to become incarnate in order to save His people lay in his reluctance to place sufficient emphasis upon our need of salvation. Our problem is sin. It has been so since the Garden of Eden; and it remains so to this day.” (https://www.fpcjackson.org/resource-library/sermons/putting-sin-to-death)