C. Michael Patton Nails it Again
Many atheists complain that God is a cosmic torture monger (in the words of C. Michael Patton), that he sends people to hell for little white lies and other minor sins. That a mass murderer who repents will go to heaven, while a virtuous atheist will go to hell simply for not believing in God.
C. Michael Patton dispels that myth here. The real problem is that people trivialize sin. Sin isn’t first what we do. Sin is first who we are. We inherit the sin of our forefather Adam, and from this flows a disposition of rebellion toward God.
No matter how we behave, we always have one fist clenched toward heaven’s throne, and are in constant rebellion to God. It is for this that we spend eternity in hell, not for going 27 in a 25 zone. It’s like the Jars of Clay song Two Hands, where the songwriter feels like he’s using one hand to pull God close while using the other to push him away. This is exactly what we do when we let sin rule our lives.
Fortunately, there is good news for those who no longer wish to be in rebellion to the Creator. Believe on Jesus Christ, and your sin is paid for, in full. Then live a life of repentance, a living sacrifice to God (Rom 12:1-2). You will spend eternity with your Father in heaven.
Questions? E-mail me or comment below.
P.S. -> TurretinFan disagrees with this here.
I think that it is worthy to note that sin is both action and nature, and that we are punished more for nature than action. Believing in Christ changes our nature, so that we are capable of not sinning against God as our normal nature would demand.