(Photo: Dan Delzell)
"I can earn my way to heaven."
"If I don't think about the afterlife, it won't ever reach me."
"A loving God would never send people to hell."
"Almost everyone is going to heaven anyway."
"Heaven and hell are not real places."
"My sin isn't bad enough for me to deserve going to hell."
"All religions lead to God and heaven."
"The only heaven and hell are the pleasant things and the horrible things people experience here right now."
"Spending eternity in hell is a myth."
What do these 9 notions have in common, in addition to all being false? Each of them is part of the pavement on the highway to hell. It is a wide road, and many are on it. That by the way is what Jesus said about it. (see Matthew 7:13,14)
We all tend to live with certain preconceived notions. Some of our notions have few consequences, while others impact our eternal well-being. You don't want to be wrong about heaven and hell, trust me. There are no "do-overs" once your soul departs your earthly body at the moment of your death.
"If only we could enjoy life without any thought for tomorrow, or for eternity." That is the way our natural mind works. Our natural mind is not tuned into God until the Holy Spirit gets us on the correct channel, and the correct spiritual frequency. Then we get it and we understand that heaven and hell are not just "religious ideas," but are real places where real people spend a very, very long time, without end in fact.
I know that this topic probably blows your mind. It blows my mind too. But that doesn't make it untrue. That just means we can only imagine, and very weakly at that, how amazing and horrible these places really are for those who go there. Man is good at deceiving himself into believing that these places will never touch him, or find their way into his existence. Human beings are good at living in denial, and rejection, and blindness. That goes for you, and for me.
One day you will likely remember these words you read here. And on that day, you will either be loving life or hating life; either loving your new home, or hating it. Nothing you could ever do will change the fact that your soul is immortal. Even suicide cannot extinguish your soul. It just lands you in your permanent home sooner.
So what about your preconceived notions? I know you have some, because we all do. What are yours? And do some of them involve heaven, hell, and Jesus?
Don't believe everything you think. We get into trouble when we do that and when we assume our feelings are superior to what God has said in His Word. Don't rely on feelings or on man's opinions, even your own. Discover the source of truth. It's called the Bible. Meet the Man of Truth. His name is Jesus. Then you will be on the narrow road that leads to eternal life in heaven.
You didn't think you were the first one to ever be convinced you are smarter than God, did you? That form of self-deception has been going on for thousands of years. You can follow the crowd and go that way, or come out from that place of deception by accepting the truth and allowing it to work in you. There is still time for you to think straight. That is, if you are willing to let go of some of your preconceived notions about heaven and hell.
Are you a free thinker? Or are you too committed to your ideology which leaves out Jesus, and heaven, and faith, and salvation by grace and truth. The wide road which leads to destruction is a very popular path because it resonates with the way natural man thinks. Without insight from the Holy Spirit, man doesn't have a chance to be saved from himself, and his sin, and his preconceived notions.
So are you finally ready, after all these years, to listen to the Holy Spirit? Are you ready to repent of your sin and believe in Christ? You won't regret it, I assure you. "God wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:4) That includes you because God loves you very much.
What happens if you wake up tomorrow, but you are not here on earth? In that case, you will be in one of two places, no doubt about it. That should give you pause. What do you think? Or is thinking about your eternal place of residence not really something you are into quite yet?
If so, let's be honest about it and call it what it is, namely, preconceived notion #10 paving the highway to hell. "There will always be tomorrow to prepare my soul for eternity."