“What’s the big deal about not being born again; after all I’m a good person. It’s not like I’ve ever killed anyone. I’m not a bank robber. Sure I might cuss from time to time, but God knows that I don’t mean it. I know that I am going to Heaven.” I have heard this statement from many people over the years. My response is usually… Really? Are you absolutely positive?
In John 3, we read about the interaction of Nicodemus, a religious leader, most likely a member of the Sanhedrin (the ruling council) and Jesus. Nicodemus sought out Jesus in the cover of darkness without other members of the Sanhedrin to learn from the man named Jesus. He needed to determine fact from rumor about Jesus. Though Nicodemus was a learned man, he still had questions. He wanted to know more and he knew that Jesus had the answers.
I don’t know that there is a more divisive topic out there than the topic of Heaven and Eternal Life vs. Hell and Eternal Damnation. Typically it begins with the question- “What do you mean I might not go to Heaven, I’m a good person!!!!” I know that this has caused more than one conversation to go sideways around here.
Before we begin, let me make this perfectly clear – I am NOT a theologian. What I am writing here is a culmination of information gained while studying and researching some of the finest Christian minds and writers. Links to their articles will be added to the end of this post.
So… shall we dig in?
There are several questions that I want to unpack today.
- Is Heaven real?
- Is Hell real?
- Why only Christians go to Heaven?
- How can being good send me to Hell?
There are dozens more, and perhaps I’ll write more about this topic another time, but for now I think this is the basics.
Ask yourself this… If God appeared to you and asked, “Why should I let you into heaven?” How would you answer? If you’re like most people, you answer might run something along these lines:
“I’ve always tried to…”
“I do my best…”