Who will get to heaven?
Will everyone get to heaven, will good people get there, or on what basis do they get to heaven? Read more to get to heaven
Regarding Heaven, some may think it is only a hope, or doubt its existence. They may say, “Nobody has gone to Heaven and come back, so why should we believe in it?”
It is important to note that the Bible teaches about Heaven in many places. Jesus said straight out: “For I came down from Heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him that sent me” (John ), so He certainly has knowledge about the issue. Likewise, He said: “Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1-3)
Paul wrote about the same subject. He wrote, “But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him” (1 Cor 2:9) and “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom 8:18).
Furthermore, he taught and wrote about a new, glorified and perfect resurrection body: “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Cor 15:33) and in Philippians (3:20,21): “For our conversation is in Heaven; from where also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like to his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things to himself.”
Perhaps the best description about the coming world,
- (Rev 21:1-6) And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5 And he that sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said to me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
6 And he said to me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to him that is thirsty of the fountain of the water of life freely.
WHO WILL GET TO
HEAVEN? Above we discussed
Heaven and the approach of the
But what about getting to Heaven? Does the Bible -- especially the New Testament -- teach us anything about heaven, about who can get there, or about how to get there? This is not always clear to people; they may have wrong ideas about it that prevent them from receiving life.
Next, we examine two of the most common misconceptions about going to Heaven:
- Everyone goes to heaven
- Only good people go to heaven
“EVERYONE will GO to heaven”. Some people have the idea that everyone on earth will go to heaven. They think that when a man’s life ends he will automatically go to heaven regardless of how he has lived. God does not close the gates; everyone gets in.
Let’s consider the faulty logic in this approach.
What is true? When a Finnish priest wrote a book Kaikki pääsevät taivaaseen (“Everyone will go to heaven”) some years ago, the name of the book created the idea that one day every single person on Earth will go to Heaven. The idea suggested that nobody will be left outside.
The first question is whether or not this idea comes from human imagination or whether it is true according to God’s purpose. If we suppose that the Gospels and the texts in the New Testament – describing Heaven and teaching us how to get there – are all true, then the notion that everyone goes to Heaven is not supported. On the contrary, the New Testament teaches that a certain group – unrepentant sinners – will be left outside the gates of Heaven. In Corinthians (1 Cor 6:9), for example, we read, “Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived…” In the Revelation, verse 21:27, is written: Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. The next verses continue the message that some people will be left outside Heaven:
- (,15) Blessed are they that do his commandments that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and fornicators, and murderers, and idolaters, and whoever loves and makes a lie.
So the previous verses indicate that everyone will not get in to Heaven. Unrepentant sinners will be left outside.
It is good to understand that a God who forgives unrepentant sinners is not a good God. He would be as bad as the evil he accepts if he only looks away when people do bad things. He would also be morally even lower than us humans, because evil causes an opposite reaction in us and can arouse our sense of justice and anger. If God were indifferent and accepted everything, He could not be a righteous God. He would give His consent to evil. We cannot expect Him to open the doors of Heaven to unrepentant people:
not of the same opinion with those who explain that heaven
is open for everyone. As I thank God for Him not making us
judges of our fellowmen, I see that the Bible clearly
teaches that there are people who will be left outside the
That young woman amused her brother’s little daughter one day by telling her a story of “Children in the Woods”. When she finished the story, the child asked with anxiety, “Did all the children go to heaven?” “Yes, they did, my darling," the aunt answered. “But what happened to the bad men?” the child asked. “Oh, I think that God took them to heaven too.” “But won’t they kill children there again?” inquired the little one with anxiety. The practical nature of the question was too much for the aunt’s philosophy, and she saw now – as never before – the impossibility of the righteous God acting that way. (1)
The next question is how to get into heaven and what do we need to do. Is there any clear guidance?
The answer is that if unrepentant sinners are not forgiven and do not enter into Heaven, then people who genuinely repent and turn to God receive total forgiveness and get to enter Heaven. The matter is so simple.
Let’s read the story of the Prodigal Son, as told by Jesus. It is one illustration of a person who was forgiven after having turned his back on his father. Jesus taught that when the son repented, turned toward his father and confessed his wrongdoings, his father was filled with compassion and welcomed him home. The door to Heaven was opened to him such as it was opened for the thief on the cross. Jesus told him: “Today shall you be with me in paradise” (Luke ).
This applies to us today. If we turn to God then we will
experience the same acceptance. “For there is no respect of
persons with God” (Rom
can experience the same acceptance as the Prodigal Son. One
day we will be welcomed into the
- (Luke 15:17-20) And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before you,
19 And am no more worthy to be called your son: make me as one of your hired servants.
20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
- (1 John 1:9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
“ONLY GOOD PEOPLE WILL GO TO HEAVEN”. The second idea is that only “good” people and people with high moral standards will go to heaven. Many people think that if someone does his best, lives a moral life and is not as bad as others, he will go to heaven. They suppose that God will receive them first and welcome them.
This idea is also wrong. Even though good deeds and moral attitudes are good things, they cannot lead us to God and into Heaven. This is because nobody is perfect:
Perfection and God’s character. Even though good deeds and morality are good things, they – or being better than someone else – cannot assist us in getting to Heaven or in approaching God. It is the same as if we were about to jump across a bottomless abyss several hundred meters wide. Some of us can jump three meters, others six meters and some as much as nine meters when in peak condition. However, every jump will fall short. Even if people could jump two or three times that distance, it would still be inadequate. Perfection is too far away. Each of us must admit that we live far from the perfection of God, as we are told that, "Yet not one of you keeps the law” (John 7:19). It is impossible for us to get to Heaven by leading a moral life or by doing good deeds:
HOW CAN WE GET TO HEAVEN? Since not all of us can get in to heaven, not even those who try to lead a good and moral life, we ought to ask who can go there and how. Does the Bible provide answers to these questions?
The answer is that we can be saved in one way only: by grace, which comes through Jesus, who has done everything for us. Good deeds and high moral standards cannot take us to Heaven because of our imperfect nature, but His grace will take us there. Whether we are a blatantly sacrilegious sinner, an atheist, a moralist – no matter our human condition – we can only be saved and enter into Heaven by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches us that this is the only way to be saved.
- (Eph 2:8,9) For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
- (Eph 2:4,5) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins, has quickened us together with Christ, (by grace you are saved;)
- (John 4:10) Jesus answered and said to her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that said to you, Give me to drink; you would have asked of him, and he would have given you living water.
- (Rev 21:6) And he said to me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to him that is thirsty of the fountain of the water of life freely.
- (Rev 22:17) And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is thirsty come. And whoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
Through grace and Jesus. Faith in Jesus is the only path to Heaven. It is because of that simple reason that he has become our mediator between God and men, or crossed the gap between them. Everything is now based on grace, which has come through Him:
- (John 14:6) Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.
- (Hebr 9:15) And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
- (John 1:17) For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
- (Rom 6:23) For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
- (Rom 3:24) Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
- (Acts 10:43) To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whoever believes in him shall receive remission of sins.
- (Acts 13:38) Be it known to you therefore, men and brothers, that through this man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins:
RECEIVING GRACE. Everything has been done for us, and only through grace and faith in Jesus Christ can we enter into Heaven. We must turn to God and receive His grace. We must accept Jesus Christ into our lives so that we can be saved and go to heaven. Only by receiving Him can we enter Heaven one day.
What if we reject the grace of God and Jesus? What if we take no notice of Him and the coming life? Will there be any consequences of it? Does it have an effect on our eternity?
The answer is that if we reject Jesus and His gift of eternal life, we must certainly pay for our own sins. We will enter into eternal damnation and reside in a place from which there is no escape. All of this is because we have turned our back on the only possibility to be saved and to get to God’s paradise. We have rejected our only possibility to get into Heaven. Therefore, do not turn your back on God’s grace but save yourself today so that you won’t have regrets later. It is the best decision you can ever make:
In 1892, Wilson and Porter were sentenced to be hanged for a mail robbery. Porter was executed, but Wilson was pardoned. He rejected his pardoning, and judge John Marshall of the Higher Court left the future generations this statement: “Pardoning is an act that is not legal without releasing the person, and release is not perfect without receiving. The person to whom it is offered can reject it, and if it is rejected, we do not deem the Court fit to put it into effect by force.”
As you see, you bear the responsibility. If you do not accept God’s mercy, He will not force you. “How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?” (Heb. 2:3) (2)
My friend, if you are damned, it is not because of your sins, but because you have not received mercy that God offers to you through Jesus. That is why it is fair. If you reject Jesus, what can God do? You then dismiss your only hope of salvation. (3)
THE PRAYER OF SALVATION. Lord, Jesus, I turn to You. I confess that I have sinned against You and have not lived according to Your will. However, I want to turn rom my sins and follow You with all my heart. I also believe that my sins have been forgiven by Your atonement and I have received eternal life through You. I thank You for the salvation that You have given me. Amen.
1. D.L. Moody, Kristinuskon rikkaus, p. 114
2. Oswald J. Smith, Jumalan pelastus, p. 35
3. Oswald J. Smith, Maa johon kaipaan, p. 89
Jesus is the way, the truth and the life
Grap to eternal life!