Someone recently said to me:
You know, I’d be willing to bet that people who don’t devote their lives to Jesus still go to heaven.
As I get this a lot I thought I’d make it easy and post it here for all to see.
I can tell you of two who didn’t know Jesus but who knew God and walked with Him (followed His commandments and placed God first in their lives) who never saw death – Elijah and Enoch. Eventually, there will be one generation of believers who will never see death either as they will be raptured with the church. Unfortunately, that’s only two total examples shown in all of human history and they were written about as it was a very strange thing for it to happen. The chances of someone else going to Heaven without dying or without waiting on the promise of the Savior to come are extremely remote. Are you willing to tell me that you live your life in total devotion to God and to His purposes? Have you ever told a lie, stolen anything or committed adultery? If you say you’ve not committed adultery, remember that Jesus said if you look at a woman with lust, you’ve already committed adultery with her in your heart. What about honoring your mother and father? Have you always done all that they’ve asked of you, right when asked, and never dishonored them? Have you thrown away the God of the Bible and instead created a god that you can feel more comfortable with? That’s idolatry and is the 2nd commandment. Breaking just one of these, even just once is enough to make you guilty before God just as a rapist who rapes only one woman is still guilty of the same crime. The crimes that you’ve broken against God’s moral law demand justice and as God is a just ruler He cannot throw out your crimes. That would make Him unjust and therefore able to be corrupted and thus, not God.
As a criminal before a just Judge, you have no recourse other than to throw yourself before the mercy of the Court. The judgment is final and you’re damned to Hell for eternity.
The difference here is that God provided a way for you to be saved from this judgment but you have to do a couple things first. You need to acknowledge God, your sins, and your position before Him as if you don’t believe that He exists or has now power to save you then any claim to ask for forgiveness is without merit. Then you need to repent which means to turn from your sins and to vow to try to be sinless from here forward. Then you place your faith in Christ to save you from the judgment that you know you deserve. These may seem like works but as no one seeks to do good on our own then the act of repentance and faith in Christ is inspired by the actions of God working through us by the preparation and work of the Holy Spirit alone. When you repent of your sins and place your salvation alone in the perfect sacrifice prepared and performed by Jesus Christ then you are saved. You will be transformed by the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit will replace your old desires with the want to do good. You will want to read the Bible and the desires of your sinful heart will no longer interest you. I know this because it happened to me and I know that it can happen to you as well.
Now, I totally believe that all paths lead to God but what you see when you get there is dependent on your relationship with Jesus Christ. If you’re saved in Christ alone then you will see Christ at the Bema Seat where the believers are welcomed into Heaven. If you do not, then you will see God as well but you will be at the Great White Throne Judgment where you will have your sins exposed for all to see. You will have your thought life, your physical sins which you have committed and those sins of omission where you could have done the right thing but you just walked on past – all things thought and said will be laid bare for all to see. All of your private perversions where you watch girls walk past or that you think in the darkest recesses of your mind – they will all be laid before the feet of a Holy and Perfect God. You will then see that you have no recourse rather than to plead that your trial be cut short so you can be thrown into Hell to escape the torments of your own conscience – that worm that will never die and will eat at you for all eternity to remind you of all the times you were presented with the Gospel and you denied it to appease your own selfish desires and to keep you from having to change anything that would keep you from continuing to worship yourself.