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Christianity.com Video 5 - Are all sins equal and is there equality in hell?

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In our fifth installment of the Christianity.com videos Dr. Horton discusses whether or not God hates some sins more than others, and if so, why. As a result, Mike also talks about the somewhat popular idea that there are different degrees of hell dependent on the severity of one's sins.

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  • Guest - John Divito

    While I would not want us to view hell through the lens of Dante and his levels, does not Scripture teach some kind of degrees of punishment in hell? How would you interpret such passages as Matthew 11:20-22, Luke 12:47-48, John 19:11, Hebrews 10:29, etc.? I am not trying to be argumentative but am genuinely seeking to understand your view of hell.

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  • Guest - Michael Horton

    Great question, John. In Matthew 11:20-22, Jesus is talking about Judgment Day, not hell. His point is that the cities where he himself—as God incarnate—performed his wonders and proclaimed his gospel have more guilt than Sodom in rejecting God’s Word. Also Luke 12:47-48 is not speaking of hell but of current events that last even into our era until Christ returns. The parables focus on the religious leaders as those who have been given much, yet refuse to come to the wedding feast—and try to keep others from it. This division of sheep and goats will be accomplished when Christ returns (vv 49-43), but Jesus makes it clear that he’s talking about “how to interpret the present time” (v 56) rather than referring to states in hell. John 19:11 simply speaks of a “greater sin,” not of its consequences in different degrees of punishment. And Hebrews 10:29 warns of those who spurn Christ’s blood by apostatizing. They incur greater guilt. So while these passages support the idea of different degrees of accountability, none refers to different degrees of hell itself. Rather, we have all of the “sheep” welcomed into God’s eternal home and the “goats” cast into the lake of fire, with no mention of some spots being hotter than others.

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  • Guest - Joe

    I think you are in the minority on this one Michael. Every reformed theologian I've ever head speak on this subject including RC Sproul have taught otherwise. Basically what you are saying is that someone who has never heard the gospel and winds up in Hell will have the same degree of punishment as Nero Caesar, and someone who believes on the name of Christ on their deathbed will have the same reward as someone such as RC Sproul. If this is what you are saying, I believe you are in serious error.

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  • Guest - Joe


    Here is RC Sproul's interpretation of this doctrine of reward and punishment. I truly believe your view Michael does harm to God's justice.

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  • It seems to me that Revelation 20.12 teaches degrees of punishment. There's the book of life, and anyone not in that book is sentenced to the lake of fire. BUT there's more books that allow judgment of each person according to what they have done. If there are no degrees of severity of judgment, I don't see how judgment from those books makes sense.

    That hell would be the same for Hitler and unbelieving Grandma seems a little incongruous.

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  • Guest - aleksandra

    i think this wonderful puritan quote will help clarify things:

    "As there is no sin so small but it deserves damnation; so there is no sin so great that it can bring damnation on those who truly repent"

    AMEN to both parts of that statment.

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