Is everyone going to heaven?
Apparently 64% of those self identified as evangelicals believe so. According to a recent online survey released by LifeWay and reported by the Christian Post they think “heaven is a place where all people will ultimately be reunited with their loved ones.”
“Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research, says in the survey report that while most Americans still identify as Christians, they seem to be confused about some of the details of their faith.”
What an understatement! McConnell says “two-thirds of Americans believe Jesus is God while half say Jesus is a being created by God. Those two beliefs don’t seem to match. But he adds. “Contradictory and incompatible beliefs are OK for most people.”
Well, that may be ok for most people, but not with God! So, regarding the question of “Who gets to go to heaven?” What does the Bible say?
In His Mountain Message, Jesus expressed it with a stark contrast: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matt 7:13-14). While Jesus does not identify here who is going to heaven, he indicates that most people aren’t on the right road to heaven.
Of course, the doctrine of Universalism says “everyone is going to heaven.” They reason something like this. God loves everyone and desires all to be saved. Nothing can suppress the love of God. So everyone will be saved.”
Their logic, however, is flawed. In John 3:16 Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” While eternal life is God’s goal for all of us, He does introduce the possibility of perishing. On another occasion, Jesus issued this succinct choice, “repent or perish” (Lk. 13:3).
Furthermore, Jesus taught that we must confess allegiance to Him as the Son of God. A failure to do, will keep one from salvation and the eternal presence of God (Matt 10:32-33; Rom. 10:9-10).
In the Great Commission given to the apostles, Jesus presented two possible destinies. “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned” (Mk. 15:15-16). That command is clear. Through acceptance of the gospel message one can be saved. Rejection of the gospel will result in condemnation.
Just a cursory reading of the gospel accounts and the New Testament epistles reveal the importance of obedience, if one desires to go to heaven. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments (Jn 14:15). In that vein He asks, “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Lk. 56:46)
The Bible identifies specific sins that will keep one out of heaven. Among them is this pointed passage. “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-21).
Finally, in the repeated refrain of the old time spiritual “Everybody talkin’ ‘bout heaven ain’t goin’ there.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman