a non-believer dies, and they're a good person, are they going to hell?"
common question posits the fate of a good non-believer in the hands of what
must certainly be a fair God and suggests "Why not?" "Why let good non-believers
are several curious presuppositions in the question, worded as it is. It
might presuppose there are clearly good people in the world and they simply
deserve to go to heaven. It might presuppose that heaven is a reward given
out by God for whom he judges to be good, or at least good enough. It might
presuppose that heaven is an accomplishment that God merely observes individuals
to either fail or succeed at making on their own. But worst of all, it presupposes
that Jesus Christ is peripheral or secondary to our own selves: "Regardless
of who Jesus was or why he came, I am good - why not let me in?"
how does anyone get into heaven? Through faith in the provision of God;
first that we are sinful, horribly imperfect, and in need of provision,
and second that only God can, will, and has provided that provision; namely
God's own substitutionary death on the cross in the person of Jesus Christ.
Jesus paid the penalty for our sin. The unbeliever's sin debt still remains.
God's wrath still rests upon such a person regardless of their behavior;
only Christ's death can propitiate or remove sin and rescue one from God's
about our goodness?" No one is good - truly good - but God alone (Luke 18:19).
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). God
is holy, holy, holy (Isaiah 6:3), and as such anything except of equal holiness
is anathema to his presence. Remember that it was only Jesus about whom
God said he was well pleased (Matthew 17:5). Only by receiving Jesus' righteousness
can an individual be looked upon by God and accepted into heaven (Matthew
5:20, Romans 3:21).
consider the parable of the rich young ruler in Luke 18:18-23 -
A certain ruler
asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
"Why do you call
me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone. You know
the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal,
do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'"
"All these I have
kept since I was a boy," he said.
When Jesus heard
this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have
and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come,
When he heard this,
he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth.
was a "good" person that wanted into heaven. His latter comments betray
the fact he thought his life to be "good", which Christ (in my opinion)
nails him on right at the get-go. What Christ did by suggesting he sell
everything is not lay down a heretofore new requirement to enter heaven,
but make obvious to this man that he was not truly good like he judged himself
to be. "I'm good - I obey all that God says!" "Okay, super, glad to hear
it, so then obey this…" And he wouldn't do it. So much for his goodness.
good non-believers are going to be cast into hell by the boat loads
and I, for one, hope I am in such a state that it seems less sickening than
it does now. There will be more former murderers in heaven who GENUINELY
repented in their last minutes than there will be lifelong do-gooders who
were never committed to obeying or believing the Lord; never concerned with
dealing with their sin (Matthew 7:17-23). The fate of hell is tragic and
it's tragic for at least that reason.
for a fact that Christ died to save all who will believe. I can't imagine
how God felt, after being united with Christ for all eternity, when he turned
away from him on the cross while he bore our penalty for sin. But he did,
and I believe that if there had been any other way to accomplish our salvation
then Jesus would not have gone through the sacrifice and pain that he did.
Jesus prayed as much in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:39). But for
the joy set before him, Scripture tells us, he endured the cross…(Hebrews
12:2). If only I was better at letting this motivate me to reach so many
unsaved friends. So much for my own pitiful goodness.
What is the Gospel?
What is righteousness?