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Is heaven exclusive?

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I've heard lots of different opinions on who is "allowed" in heaven.

If God is all loving then surely he can't allow his children to go to hell, yet Jesus does say he is "the way" so is it only those with faith who can go to heaven, or is any good person allowed in?

Opinions!?

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Guest JAG

The gospel is good news to sinners - that even though they are unrighteous there is a way for them to be made holy. This way is Jesus. Through Jesus' atonement, man is made holy before a holy God. Sin has been justly paid for by God's wrath being poured out on Christ in substitution of ourselves. In response to this, just as those in the desert looked upon the snake on a staff to be healed of their venom, man must look upon Christ crucified as their savior from sin. If man fails to repent and acknowledge Christ as their Lord and Savior, then there is no salvation for them - for they have rejected His atonement on their behalf. Instead, they must represent themselves before a holy judge, who is likewise just, and will punish them for their lifetime of sin.

This good news, that we have an advocate in Christ before God, must be preached in order to save those who are currently perishing. This is the gospel.

- James

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God is a Holy, perfect and righteous God, it would be against His nature to allow any kind of sin into His kingdom. That's why we have Jesus, when we accept Jesus we are one with Him and He is one with us. God does not see our sin on judgement day, instead He see's Christs finished work.

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So, it's only when you accept Jesus' sacrifice that we are saved? That's kinda the opinion I had but a lot of my friends are inclusivists and say that as long as you have lived a good life and not killed anyway etc. Jesus wouldn't turn you away from heaven.

It's nice thinking but idk if it is realistic..

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Guest JAG
So, it's only when you accept Jesus' sacrifice that we are saved? That's kinda the opinion I had but a lot of my friends are inclusivists and say that as long as you have lived a good life and not killed anyway etc. Jesus wouldn't turn you away from heaven.

It's nice thinking but idk if it is realistic..

It's hellish and heretical to say everyone is going to heaven. It goes directly against Christ's teaching (He taught more about hell than any other biblical figure), and destroys any notion of a just God.

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It's hellish and heretical to say everyone is going to heaven. It goes directly against Christ's teaching (He taught more about hell than any other biblical figure), and destroys any notion of a just God.

Exactly.

So, it's only when you accept Jesus' sacrifice that we are saved? That's kinda the opinion I had but a lot of my friends are inclusivists and say that as long as you have lived a good life and not killed anyway etc. Jesus wouldn't turn you away from heaven.

It's nice thinking but idk if it is realistic..

I think your friends are right. If you live a good life, you will not be turned away from heaven. The problem is that no one (apart from Jesus) has ever lived a good life.

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I believe it is possible to accept Jesus without knowing His name, and even possible to "reject" Christianity but to accept Christ. I believe some of the people who are living an undeniably good and self-sacrificing life are actually allowing Christ to live through them, knowing His character but not His name.

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I believe it is possible to accept Jesus without knowing His name, and even possible to "reject" Christianity but to accept Christ. I believe some of the people who are living an undeniably good and self-sacrificing life are actually allowing Christ to live through them, knowing His character but not His name.

I used to think something similar. Just wondering, but what is your scriptural basis for this?

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Early in Romans. "since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse."

That section is stating that people who ignored everything that God revealed to them naturally are just as guilty as those who had everything revealed and they rejected it.

I feel like this is sufficient evidence that God DOES reveal Himself naturally without necessarily naming Himself, and while this verse is focusing on those who rejected Him, there are probably also people who accept Him, because it's not talking to all people just those who rejected Him based on this evidence.

That was a really messily worded sentence, but I hope it gets across the point I'm trying to make.

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Early in Romans. "since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse."

That section is stating that people who ignored everything that God revealed to them naturally are just as guilty as those who had everything revealed and they rejected it.

I feel like this is sufficient evidence that God DOES reveal Himself naturally without necessarily naming Himself, and while this verse is focusing on those who rejected Him, there are probably also people who accept Him, because it's not talking to all people just those who rejected Him based on this evidence.

That was a really messily worded sentence, but I hope it gets across the point I'm trying to make.

I think I understand what you are saying. So you are saying that those who respond to the general revelation of God (in nature) but not the special revelation of God (in Christ), can still be saved by Christ?

Just wondering, but what do you make of this passage (from the chapter directly after the one you quoted):

12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

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I really don't see how that passage contradicts anything. "For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous... but those who obey" . You don't necessarily have to have heard the law to obey it. Even if you've never heard that killing is wrong, and people around you kill, you could still come to your own conclusion that it is wrong based off the way it affects you, your family, and those around you. So in a way, the "Gentiles," too, "have the law written on their hearts" and so they too will be judged on how well they followed the law that God placed in them.

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I've heard lots of different opinions on who is "allowed" in heaven.

If God is all loving then surely he can't allow his children to go to hell, yet Jesus does say he is "the way" so is it only those with faith who can go to heaven, or is any good person allowed in?

Opinions!?

First. You assume we are all children of God. We are all creations of God, but we are not all children of God. If we were already all inherently children of God, there would be no need to be adopted into the family of God.

Second. God is all-merciful, but God is also all-just. He cannot let sin go unpunished. To let sin go unpunished would be to go against His all-just nature. The solution to this seeming dilemma was Jesus Christ. You get this salvation by placing your trust in Christ alone for you salvation, no longer relying in your own good works, repenting of your sins, and making Him Lord of your life. Outside of Christ's salvation, all must be punished.

---------- Post added at 08:24 PM ---------- Previous post was at 08:20 PM ----------

I really don't see how that passage contradicts anything. "For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous... but those who obey" . You don't necessarily have to have heard the law to obey it. Even if you've never heard that killing is wrong, and people around you kill, you could still come to your own conclusion that it is wrong based off the way it affects you, your family, and those around you. So in a way, the "Gentiles," too, "have the law written on their hearts" and so they too will be judged on how well they followed the law that God placed in them.

God's standard for entrance into the kingdom of heaven is perfection. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. No man can come unto the Father except through Jesus Christ. God's law is written on their hearts, but that says nothing about their obedience. The only way they could have salvation is if they were PERFECT. The world needs the Gospel, plain and simple.

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And? Who says someone can't have accepted the concept behind the Gospel without knowing the actual official doctrine of it all? I believe it's in Romans again where we find the verse "In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words" similarly I don't think any of us knows exactly how salvation works or what me must ask God in order to be "saved" but the Holy Spirit sees our heart and sees that when someone truly desires the Gospel that it is written in their hearts even if they don't know the words.

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And? Who says someone can't have accepted the concept behind the Gospel without knowing the actual official doctrine of it all? I believe it's in Romans again where we find the verse "In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words" similarly I don't think any of us knows exactly how salvation works or what me must ask God in order to be "saved" but the Holy Spirit sees our heart and sees that when someone truly desires the Gospel that it is written in their hearts even if they don't know the words.

"The concept of the Gospel?" How can one have a concept of the Gospel? You either know it fully or you don't. The Gospel IS Jesus Christ.

[TABLE=class: table_bible]

[TR]

[TD=class: td_bible_verse_heading, align: left]Rom 10:9

[/TD]

[TD=class: td_bible_text] "because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."

That verse leaves no room for simply a "concept" of the Gospel. You must confess that Jesus is Lord. How can you do that if you don't even know who Jesus is?

The verse you cite is grossly taken out of context. That verse references when people are speaking in tongues, or when we can't express what we need in words. The verse is in reference to BELIEVERS. Those who have not come to salvation do not have the Spirit, as the Spirit resides within the believer.

[TABLE=class: table_bible]

[TR]

[TD=class: td_bible_verse_heading, align: left]1Cr 2:14[/TD]

[TD=class: td_bible_text]The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. [/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

[/TD]

[/TR]

[/TABLE]

He cannot discern them because the Spirit is not present.

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Who says when someone who doesn't know God's name calls out for help, that He doesn't hear anyway? I'm extending that principle a bit. I never said that verse was talking about this situation perfectly, but I feel like it illustrates a general character of the Spirit, that He understands us better than we do and if we want Him there, He'll be there whether or not we know His name.

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Who says when someone who doesn't know God's name calls out for help, that He doesn't hear anyway? I'm extending that principle a bit. I never said that verse was talking about this situation perfectly, but I feel like it illustrates a general character of the Spirit, that He understands us better than we do and if we want Him there, He'll be there whether or not we know His name.

Romans 2:12

All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law.

Galations 3:10-14 -

10For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them." 11Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for "The righteous shall live by faith."[d] 12But the law is not of faith, rather "The one who does them shall live by them." 13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree"— 14so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit[e] through faith.

Romans 10:9 -

That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Trust me, I used to believe exactly what you do, but then I searched scripture. It just doesn't fit with the gospel. Think about it, we would actually be hurting them by presenting the gospel to them. They would be much more likely to respond to the general revelation of God, than to accept Jesus if we present the gospel to them. Yet Jesus calls us to spread it among all nations.

It would also mean that they would be under the law. They could not be under grace, because they don't know Jesus (and they certainly never confessed 'Jesus is Lord'). All die under the law, I don't see how they would be different.

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I never said I knew for sure what it is. But I did used to believe the other way around, and as I've been studying I've been coming to more of the opposite conclusion. I can't say for sure I'm right any more than I can say you're wrong.

I don't think sharing the Gospel with these people would hurt them, as I feel like it would give them a greater understanding of what they had started to learn. The people I am thinking of are those who, if they understood the Gospel, would not reject it.

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Who says when someone who doesn't know God's name calls out for help, that He doesn't hear anyway? I'm extending that principle a bit. I never said that verse was talking about this situation perfectly, but I feel like it illustrates a general character of the Spirit, that He understands us better than we do and if we want Him there, He'll be there whether or not we know His name.

The "who says" argument is a ploy for me to challenge the ability of God. God can hear anyone. He doesn't even need to "hear" because He already knows all things because of his omniscient character. So yes, God could "hear" them but I don't exactly understand what you mean by "If we want Him there, He'll be there."

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I mean by that, that if someone truly desires God with all their being He is not going to say, "oop, you haven't said "Jesus" yet so I'm not gonna come and be with you." especially if they've never heard of Jesus.

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I mean by that, that if someone truly desires God with all their being He is not going to say, "oop, you haven't said "Jesus" yet so I'm not gonna come and be with you." especially if they've never heard of Jesus.

Jesus is more than a mere magical name that gets us into heaven. He is the Son of God, He is God. When one lacks knowledge of Christ, he lacks a true understanding of God. He cannot know God, if he doesn't know Jesus. Jesus is the mediator between God and man.

Please explain how one can come to salvation outside of Jesus Christ.

---------- Post added at 11:54 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:42 PM ----------

I mean by that, that if someone truly desires God with all their being He is not going to say, "oop, you haven't said "Jesus" yet so I'm not gonna come and be with you." especially if they've never heard of Jesus.

Jesus is more than a mere magical word. He is the Son of God, He is God himself. Without knowledge of Jesus Christ, one does not fully understand the nature of God.

How does a person come to salvation outside of Jesus Christ? If this can apply to those who may not have had the opportunity to hear, why can't it apply to the guy who lives down the street from me?

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I never said they would come to salvation outside of Him. I just think that they can accept Him without knowing His name. I believe that is a perfectly valid part of one's spiritual walk, especially if one has grown up outside of where Christianity is mentioned well.

Imagine a heathen village where the way of life is warfare, competition, argument, disrespect, every man for himself.

Suppose one village member grows up in this atmosphere and grows to realize that there is something more. They begin to realize pride is foolishness. That selfishness only harms. And that they themselves are suffering from the same thing everyone else is, and they want to change. They start trying to change and realize they can't do it on their own, and they need help. If they heard the gospel they'd immediately accept it, but they haven't.

It's ridiculous to say at this point that God wouldn't see this person's heart, see their longing for Him, and meet it with His grace and His aid. If this person continues to grow spiritually, it would be absolutely crazy to say that God WASN'T working in this person, and yes I said working IN them not merely through them.

As explained earlier. I believe God reveals enough that one can come to the conclusion one is imperfect and needs a Savior without knowing said Savior's name.

Now. Don't get me wrong. I do believe that it's important to know what you believe and why, especially in today's world. Yet, I don't think that's quite what saves you. It may be that "if you confess Jesus with your mouth and believe in your heart that He is Lord you will be saved." but it doesn't say "If you desire Me yet don't know My name you're doomed" . In fact Christ said "If you seek Me you will find Me if you seek me with all your heart."

If this hypothetical person was seeking Him with all their heart and yet never knew His name, yet God worked in them and gave them peace, I would say they found Him without knowing His name.

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It's hellish and heretical to say everyone is going to heaven. It goes directly against Christ's teaching (He taught more about hell than any other biblical figure), and destroys any notion of a just God.

I agree with him! very much!

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I never said they would come to salvation outside of Him. I just think that they can accept Him without knowing His name. I believe that is a perfectly valid part of one's spiritual walk, especially if one has grown up outside of where Christianity is mentioned well.

Imagine a heathen village where the way of life is warfare, competition, argument, disrespect, every man for himself.

Suppose one village member grows up in this atmosphere and grows to realize that there is something more. They begin to realize pride is foolishness. That selfishness only harms. And that they themselves are suffering from the same thing everyone else is, and they want to change. They start trying to change and realize they can't do it on their own, and they need help. If they heard the gospel they'd immediately accept it, but they haven't.

It's ridiculous to say at this point that God wouldn't see this person's heart, see their longing for Him, and meet it with His grace and His aid. If this person continues to grow spiritually, it would be absolutely crazy to say that God WASN'T working in this person, and yes I said working IN them not merely through them.

As explained earlier. I believe God reveals enough that one can come to the conclusion one is imperfect and needs a Savior without knowing said Savior's name.

Now. Don't get me wrong. I do believe that it's important to know what you believe and why, especially in today's world. Yet, I don't think that's quite what saves you. It may be that "if you confess Jesus with your mouth and believe in your heart that He is Lord you will be saved." but it doesn't say "If you desire Me yet don't know My name you're doomed" . In fact Christ said "If you seek Me you will find Me if you seek me with all your heart."

If this hypothetical person was seeking Him with all their heart and yet never knew His name, yet God worked in them and gave them peace, I would say they found Him without knowing His name.

Sounds to me like a morally conscious person. You never answered the question about the guy down the street, so I'll assume that's a yes. Christ is more than some concept. You must not simply be seeking for A savior. You must seek THE Savior. The language you use in how this person comes to salvation outside of the knowledge of Jesus Christ is all very ambiguous. How can they seek "Him" as in Christ, when they don't even know He exists? I think you'd be hard pressed to find how the gospel can be found in natural revelation. Nature testifies to the existence of God, but no leaf is going to tell me about the Gospel or about Christ.

Besides,

there isn't a shred of Biblical evidence to support what you are suggesting, and there is boat load of evidence to the contrary. Even if your Biblical evidence did exist, it would create a major contradiction within the Biblical text. Salvation comes through placing faith in Christ alone.

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I think we have different definitions of what faith in Christ entails.

Oh, and I thought that question was a rhetorical question, but either way, I'm not exactly sure. I never said I had all the answers. Perhaps that's why I'm suggesting that the process of accepting Christ isn't as black and white as we sometimes think it is. Of course, I'm not positive that's the case, and I'm certainly not going to stop sharing Christ because I think this way, and I don't even think it's wise to stop sharing Christ for that reason. Even if this person were "saved" without knowing Christ's name it can only make it more beautiful for them if they do know His name. And yeah. if that person down the street had done what they could to seek God and a Savior and all they had found about Christianity was hatred, then they would be RIGHT to reject that. There are some "Jesuses" that SHOULD be rejected.

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I never said I knew for sure what it is. But I did used to believe the other way around, and as I've been studying I've been coming to more of the opposite conclusion. I can't say for sure I'm right any more than I can say you're wrong.

I don't think sharing the Gospel with these people would hurt them, as I feel like it would give them a greater understanding of what they had started to learn. The people I am thinking of are those who, if they understood the Gospel, would not reject it.

Could I ask what passages you have read in scripture that lead you to change your beliefs?

I'm not saying that I can prove my beliefs to be 100% correct, and yours 100% incorrect, but I do think that mine makes more sense with the scriptural evidence and the nature of God.

I mean by that, that if someone truly desires God with all their being He is not going to say, "oop, you haven't said "Jesus" yet so I'm not gonna come and be with you." especially if they've never heard of Jesus.

Here's where we have a dilemma: You seem to think that it is unfair that God judge people who would have accepted Jesus if they had ever heard of him, and believed in a God. First of all: God has no obligation to save anyone. It is only through his unmerited grace that anyone can be saved. But apart from that, let me offer you an alternative: What if there are no such people? What if God predestined us from the beginning so that those who would accept Jesus, do accept Jesus, and those that would not, do not accept Jesus (or never hear about him)?

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