Hell’s Mile

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many entering in through it.  Because narrow is the gate and distressing is the way which leads unto life, and there are few who find it.  Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.  You will know them from their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?  Even so, every good tree produces excellent fruit, but a corrupt tree produces evil fruit.  A good tree is not able to produce evil fruit, nor is a corrupt tree able to produce excellent fruit.  Every tree that does not produce excellent fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Therefore from their fruits you will know them.  Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many works of power in Your name?  And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who work out lawlessness!”  Matthew 7:13-23


There are cities here and there littered throughout America that have a notorious past.  Some of them are not so well known to the general public, others are well known.  For example in Bay City in Michigan had what was known as Hell’s Half Mile, a part of town that was filled with lewd behavior, partaken mostly by loggers. 


Near the Montana/Idaho border there is a rest stop with a sign that tells a story of how there was once a town nearby that was also a ‘wild west’ town, full of every sort of vice.  In South Dakota there is the well-known town of Deadwood that was full of infamous names of the historical wild west scene.  Tourists flock there every year in order to see some of the historical sites, as well as the graves of the well-known men and women who became legends in American history.


When it comes to Bay City in Michigan, from an article I had read, there was a church on both sides of Hell’s Half Mile.  There are towns and cities throughout the United States with a notorious past.  Some have survived the boom of industry and others have disappeared beneath the surface, known only to some, with the remains of what once was a named placed frequented by people for various reasons.


There used to be preachers who would warn the people.  It wasn’t so much that people didn’t know that what they were doing was wrong, but most simply continued on participating in their sinful behavior.  Over time, as cities and states became more organized, law and order, as ordained by God (Gen. 9:6; Rom. 13:1), these sorts of behaviors largely moved underground, being both illegal and prosecutable.


The preaching of the Gospel and God’s Truth to all men resulted in many good things (Acts. 17:6; Isaiah 55:11)


Yet something has happened in our society.  I recall a sheriff in Michigan, who had hit the age of retirement, talking about how the mindset of people in the small county jail had changed over the years.


According to him, it used to be when you found the person responsible for committing a crime he would often hear ‘you got me’, but as time went on, there was no admission of guilt but faulting the police and the legal system for themselves being wrong. 


Well society is also changing very quickly.  Things that once were deemed illegal, like gambling, drugs and other sorts of vice are quickly becoming legal in state after state, as well as some individual counties or cities.  This phenomenon is not localized to the United States, as it is occurring over much of the world.  Simply consider the Supreme Court ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges as an example on how things that were once considered to be unlawful are now considered acceptable in our society.


The Bible prophesied that such a time as this would take place and while there could be a slight awakening to portions of these vices, in general society will continue to reject God and His Word, continuing on the broad path to destruction.


“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, unyielding, slanderers, without self-control, savage, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away.”  2 Timothy 3:1-5


So the question is presented, where are these infamous characters of the wild west now?  We know the ‘big names’, but not the average persons.  What about the average individuals, the loggers, the miners, the prospectors, the citizens of some sort of outpost or settlement who participated in sinful behavior, who did not repent and by faith believe into Jesus Christ as the Bible proclaims as the only way to be Saved (Acts 20:21; John 14:6)


Our society likes to immortalize the ‘big ones’, but there were a lot of other people there, people who also died in their sins.  Even as our society likes to argue with God’s Truth regarding what is right or wrong, denying their Creator (Romans Chapter 1), there are truths that all men everywhere need to hear and whether or not they accept those is up to them.


“Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has established a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has appointed. He has given assurance of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.”  Acts 17:30-31


“And as it is appointed for men to die once, and after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, without sin, unto salvation.”  Hebrews 9:27-28


“And I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heavens fled away. And there was found no place for them.  And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God. And books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, out of the things which were written in the books.  And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one, according to their works.  And Death and Hades were cast into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death.  And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the Lake of Fire.”  Revelation 20:11-15


“Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has been released from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh in the lusts of men, but in the will of God.  For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in licentiousness, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.  In this regard, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same overflow of dissipation, blaspheming.  They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.”  1st Peter 4:1-5