In the first volume of the manga Pandora Hearts, we meet Oz Vessalius. Oz is a 15 year old who’s about to go through a coming of age ceremony in a world setting which is not entirely clear. Him and his friends are chatting while playing hooky at the beginning of the volume and speak of a place called “The Abyss” where people are sent for doing wrong. Here’s how Gil describes this place: “It’s a prison where they lock up bad people. People say you can never get out once you’re taken there…They say that a messenger from the Abyss visits those who commit deadly sins and takes them away to a terribly frightening place.” Oz continues to avoid his responsibilities while shrugging of his friends eerie thoughts on this Abyss.
In this the first volume of the manga, we find Oz is attacked and thrown into the Abyss. His sin? As mentioned in the text of the manga – “Your sin…is your very being.” His mere existence is a sin worthy of being condemned into the Abyss. And here we find ourselves face to face with reality.
We are all sinners, every one of us (Romans 3:23). Anyone who says otherwise is a liar (1 John 1:8). The Bible says that we are all born as sinners (Psalm 51:5, Ecclesiastes 7:20). Yes, even small babies. Cute innocent babies. But, you say, surely itty bitty babies aren’t born sinners. Yes, yes they are – the Bible says as much. Those who are parents will know that you do not need to teach your kids to do the wrong thing, but the right thing. They inherently know to pull people’s hair, swing their fists, yell angrily, and generally be mean. You have to teach kids manners. You have to teach kids to be polite. If we were born good at birth, shouldn’t we be inherently polite? But we’re not. People are disobedient creatures from birth; it’s our sinful nature we have inherited from all men beginning with Adam (Romans 5:12). And what is the penalty of our sin? Death (Genesis 3:17-19, Romans 6:23) and condemnation (Matthew 13:41-42, 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9, Revelation 21:8).
Hell is a real place where we really do not want to go (Luke 16:19-31). But, in our current trajectory without Jesus – that is exactly where we are headed. We are headed to death. We are headed to condemnation. We are headed to hell. Why? Well, in a way – we are just like Oz. Our sin is based on our existence. Our inherent nature is sinful and antagonistic to God. We are not on God’s side naturally. Just as our forefathers rebelled against the Lord, so do we. We don’t stand firmly alongside God, but reject Him. Why? Our sinful nature we inherited from the beginning.
But, if we’re destined for Hell – what’s the point? Why do we live if we’re sinful at birth, where is the hope in a faith like that? The hope comes from Christ. We have a God who wants to redeem us and He can through Christ. Acceptance of Christ leads to that eternal life and frees us from the bondage of sin (John 3:16, Romans 1:16, Hebrews 10:4-10, 1 John 2:2).
Paul taught us so many important truths in the book of Romans, but verse 5:8 always sticks with me. It describes grace. Paul write, “But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” We were sinners and, as John points out in his first letter – we always are (1 John 1:8). And yet, there’s the Lord – dying on our behalf. He stands in as a propitiation for our sin, to save us, to free us, from ourselves (1 John 4:10).
We, unlike Oz, are not condemned to an “Abyss” except by our own actions. For God has given us the the keys to Heaven through Christ. Our condemnation is not a foregone conclusion which we can do nothing about. But it will happen if we do nothing. Accept Christ’s free gift of salvation and let Him begin the good work in you to purge you of your old self and create you anew in His image.