Michael Patton makes the claim in his post “Will One Sin Really will Send You to Hell for All Eternity?” or “Why is Hell Eternal?” that it isn’t particulars sins that sends a person to hell. Rather it’s our rebellion, as particular sins are symptomatic of our rebellious nature. And only rebellion is what damns a person, not other individual sins.
The real problem is that we are at enmity with God. From the moment we are born, we inherit the traits of our father Adam. This infectious disease is called sin. This disease issues forth into a disposition toward God that causes us to begin life with our fist in the air, not recognizing His love for us or authority over us. It is rebellion. While this rebellion does act according to its nature, the problem is in the disposition, not so much the acts. When we sin, we are just acting according to the dictates of our corrupt nature. But the worst of it—the worst sin of all—is that we will never lower our fist to God. We are “by nature children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3) and as a leopard cannot change his spots, so we cannot change our rebellious disposition toward our creator (Jer. 13:23).
… Can an enemy of God love his neighbor? Of course. Enemies of God can and do all sorts of acts that the Bible would consider virtuous. But from the standpoint of their relationship with God, they cannot do any good at all (Rom. 3:12). Giving a drink to someone who is thirsty with the left hand while having your right hand in a fist clinched toward heaven does not count as “good” before God. Why? Because we are in rebellion against Him. This is our problem.
This I propose is the only sin that keeps people in Hell for all eternity.
Interesting. Don’t know if I agree.
It could rather be that each sin is an act of rebellion that deserves damnation. Sin is the exchanging of “the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things” (Romans 1:23). It’s essentially spiritual adultery.
Thus, the nature and the symptoms are both damnable; though distinct, they cannot be separated. Just think of an adulteress relationship. Both the heart and the action are inseparable. God judges the individual sins, no doubt, and they appear worthy of eternal punishment. “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming” (Col 3:5-6).
Neither way, I agree our rebellion is the most grievous sin and deserves damnation. Just now I think each act of sin is our rebellion in action and thus also deserves damnation.
Could be wrong.