Question:

Hello there,

My questions are little silly but I want to ask you: How bad am I in Jesus' eyes? Considering the short summary, am I going to hell? I'll tell you about myself so you can understand the questions.

I am 18 years old non-Christian boy who lives a normal life with some strange understandings about it. I am not a Christian, but I always believed that there is God and believing in Him seems really logical to me. I still can't understand atheists. Now that I am more mature, I am sure that He is real. I know that He is our Savior, and He's the only one who can forgive our sins. I believe only in Him, Jesus and the Holy Spirit and not statues depicting saints.

But every time I think about Him I feel strange. Sometimes I feel a great indifference toward Him and sometimes I feel guilty because I know that I am a great sinner. It's hard for me to resist sins. I spend over a week browsing the Internet about questions concerning what is sinful and what is right, so I won't bother you with that. As a person I'm positive, I'm not social at all because I hate disco parties and so on. One of the things I'm proud of is that I don't drink (not even a beer), take drugs or smoke. People are greatly surprised by that. I respect people and I curse only when we joke. I always check if I hurt someone.

My only wish is to find my soulmate because the most important thing in life for me is being with my girl. I want to have a family with children. But I always fear that I am not worthy of God's forgiveness. I pray to Him for my parents and brother. I want them to be safe and sound. I think I repented of my sins, though I'm not sure if it was the right way, so I am still confused.

I don't go to church and I don't read the Bible because I'll never understand it clearly enough I think. I masturbate and watch porn from time to time -- no comment, I know it's a sin (the lust to be more specific).

But I don't understand some things. Is it wrong to listen to "darker music," let's say or watching violent movies, playing video games but keeping in mind that it's not real life and still kind of keep yourself loving God and believing in Him? I know that modern entertainment is called Satan, but if we use it for entertainment only and do not surrender to the real life possibilities of this happening will we be forgiven? In the end do you think that so far I deserve going to hell? Should I take measures?

Thank you.


Answer:

If you are walking toward a cliff, will you fall off? It would depend on whether you made changes in the direction you are heading or not. In the same way, whether you end up in Hell depends on whether you change while you still have time.

The greatest problem that I see is that you are wrongly convinced that you cannot understand the essentials of the Bible. You get your knowledge from what other people tell you what God wants. But God says "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). In other words, you can't really have faith without some knowledge of what you believe in. Man may claim the Bible is hard, but that is usually because they make it more complicated than it is. God made us. He knows how to tell His creation what they need to do. "Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is" (Ephesians 5:17). I would like you to read What Must I Do to be Saved? Make sure you read all the verses in your own Bible. If you don't understand something, then ask. That is what preachers are for -- to help people learn their Bibles. "For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe" (I Corinthians 1:21).

What God wants of us is our willing service to Him. "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). It is not partial service. We cannot simply pick the things we like and ignore the rest. For example, attendance with a church to worship God is required (Hebrews 10:24-25). It does matter where you worship. Many groups calling themselves Christian don't really follow Christ as they should. See: We Are Simply Christians Without Being Members of Any Denomination, You Can be Too!

Regarding pornography, I would like you to read: Lies Pornography Tells Men.

Regarding violence in entertainment, see: How should a Christian handle violent or adult content video games? The idea that you can be entertained by something and not be influenced by it is false. "Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits"" (I Corinthians 15:33).

I am really thankful for you responding to me.

Well, I got your point and I've read the articles. However, regarding "Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits."" What do you mean by this corruption? If we put aside the desires of the flesh where I am obviosly a sinner, how does the other entertainment affect me? I mean, yes, it causes unhealthy thinking, but I do obey my parents and I still don't do any of that in real life.

The whole concept of sin is unfamiliar to me. You see, it's confusing. ''Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.'' So all sins coresponding to this will not send you to heaven, but still they are not greater than murder, let's say. i understand that every sin, no matter how small it is, is against God's will, but how does He judge us? The Bible obviosly says that sins are not equal, but they are all deadly.

In this relationship, is having a bad mind from time to time that bad? All people say God know us better than anyone, even than we do, so he knows how I feel and that I'll never do the sins from the entertaiment stuff.

I got so much to ask. I watched a video in YouTube. He said that masturbation is not a sin as long as we do it rarely, so we can keep ourself not filled with lust and in a non-addictive behavior. Do you agree?

Lists of sins, such as the one Paul gave in I Corinthians 6:9-10, are not meant to be complete or exhasutive lists. Paul is giving specific examples of sins that the Corinthians had been involved in: "And such were some of you" (I Corinthians 6:11). Other lists, such as I Corinthians 5:11, are slightly different, though the audience and the topic is basically the same. This isn't the only list. "Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God" (Galatians 5:19-21). Notice that it ends with the same conclusion but it includes the phrase, "and the like" to make it clear that it is not an exhaustive list.

Paul's point is that you cannot be actively involved in sin and expect to go to heaven. The ones he picked in I Corinthians 6:9-10 were ones some of the Corinthians were involved in, so he is warning them they cannot return to their former sins and expect to be saved in the end.

Lists, like John's, "But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8), not only show that any list of sins cannot be exhaustive, but also tells us that God's view of sin is not the same as man's. You see murder being a worse sin. God sees murder as being the same as being cowardly, not believing, or lying -- things people usually excuse or overlook.

How does God judge? He judges us against the standard of his teachings. "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him -- the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day" (John 12:48). What He judges is what we do, and why we did it.

"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (II Corinthians 5:10).

"Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God" (I Corinthians 4:5).

Sins don't begin with the actually deed. They start with what we strongly desire to do (lust). "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man" (Mark 7:21-23). We are not talking about temptation, a realization that you could sin in some manner. Lust is when you dwell on a sin and justify doing it in your head.

The problem with being entertained by sin is that after a while you begin to accept it as normal. For example, Solomon warns, "Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go, lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul" (Proverbs 22:24-25). I know you have no intentions to sin, but Satan doesn't pay attention to your intentions. Hear a lie often enough and people begin to believe it is true. That is also true with all sins.

I didn't watch the video, so I don't know what his arguments or conclusions are beyond what you told me. Regarding masturbation, see:

To be honest, I've seen all the passages mentioned before and that creeps me out. I am really scared now.

As far as I know repentance involves not doing the sin anymore and I fear that it may happen again. I think I've got a problem because I didn't realize that the desires were so important. What I tried to change so far: well, I haven't watch porn at all. I know at all doesn't excuse me, but I work on that. I masturbate mechanicaly without thinking of anything. This is still developing, but it works.

I don't know what is happening, but I think about God most of the time. Do you believe in the testimony of people? Because this obsession has made me watch at least five of them.

Repentance means changing. It is changing your mind about sin, no longer seeking to excuse or justify your sins. It is also changing your behavior to no longer accept doing sinful things. Repentance does not mean you will never do the same thing again. It means you no longer accept the fact that you sinned as being all right with God or yourself. You are dedicated to fight against the sin. See: Repentance.

So why do you find passages about sin being unacceptable to God scary? Is is because you have been giving yourself more leeway in regards to sin and telling yourself that God doesn't care?

Personal testimonies only tell you about a person's experience, but it doesn't tell you what the truth is. Only God can tell us what is right. "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth" (John 17:17). "Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar" (Romans 3:4).

Well, I am scared because everything I did was normal to me. You see two weeks ago I played video games, watched porn, masturbated or let's say lusted; and I believed this is not wrong because no human will say it is wrong. But when you find that God describes these as deadly (and His judgment too) you are really depressed.

I hope I don't lie to myself, but it's all because I am really convinced that He exists. How can I go on when I see that I spent 18 years of my life with Satan. I know I am young but is there hope because you know I'm so young I expect to do a lot of future sins? I told you I am a believer but not a Christian so I expect I won't resist the sin of lust before marriage (although it's quite unfair having in mind that 2000 years ago people married a lot younger). I don't know what will happen. What I think about Christian marriage rules and couple is that they are a great thing, but so impossible to achieve, at least for me.

Another impossible thing would be to have sex with one woman only during my whole life. It's just how I am raised. My family are not Christians at all, but they believe like me and so changing your life is really difficult. This is my last year in high school. It's time for university, so I hope God will help me because I don't know what to expect in regards to intimate relationships.

"By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome" (I John 5:2-3).

"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light" (Matthew 11:28-30).

In truth, you haven't spent 18 years in sins. At least in regards to sexual sins, those would only have started in the last few years. Will Satan snag us in sins in the future? The honest answer is "yes." "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us" (I John 1:8-10). But because we may sin in the future, does this mean we should give up trying to live according to God's teachings? Those teachings, as you recognize, make sense and are good for us. "And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?" (Deuteronomy 10:12-13). Your argument is much like how Solomon described the lazy person. "The lazy man says, "There is a lion outside! I shall be slain in the streets!"" (Proverbs 22:13). Because there is a chance, however remote, that something bad might happen, he does nothing.

Yes, if you take a defeatist attitude, of course you are going to strip down and have sex with the first girl who offers it. But you could recognize that such is not good for you and doesn't serve God's purpose, and refuse. Does this mean you will never be caught? Who knows? But the fight alone is worth the effort. Even if you do get caught in some sin, you will be better prepared to get back out of sin because you made sin not a part of your nature.

But this idea that you can be "good" without being obedient to God is not soundly thought out. You are like a man who thinks he can do battle with no weapon and no armor (Ephesians 6:10-18). Yes, in such a state of undress, Satan has an easy time getting you to sin. However, you could choose to give yourself to Christ and become a real Christian, as I mentioned before. Sure, it will be a struggle at times, you might fall at times, but you will fall less often following God and life's choices become easier to make when you follow God's rules and the results are always better.