Who Will Be in Heaven?

The Bible is clear that the only way to receive everlasting life is through believing in Christ Jesus. The passage of John 3:16-18 reads: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Christ Himself says: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) And in 1 John 5:13, the disciple John says: “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

However, the Lord Almighty is not a wrathful, angry god just waiting to punish everyone except “Christians”, but He is a God of love and mercy. Act 17:30 tells us: “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.” He will not punish those who are completely ignorant of His Son.

For example, if someone lived prior to Christ’s earthly ministry or who lived after but had not the chance of learning of Christ, this person will not be judged on whether he or she was a “Christian” but whether their lives were in accordance to God’s Law. Romans 2:12-15 speaks of this when it says:

“For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another).”

Even if, let us say, the person was from Ancient China long before Christ and had no way of learning about God’s Law or the Messiah prophecies, he or she still had the opportunity to accept the gift of salvation from God. How? Simple. Inside each person’s heart is the basic knowledge of Good and Evil, and every single person who has lived, is living, and will live makes a choice whether to do Good or to do Evil.

Remember, that is what humanity received when our first parents, Adam and Eve, ate the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in Genesis 3. So these people… the people who had no opportunity to hear the Good News of Christ… will be judged differently from the people who have had heard the Gospel message, but no matter their personal situations, everyone will be judged justly by the Lord Almighty. After all, “for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

When the Lord returns to take His children to Heaven, we will rejoice when we are joined people who never were labeled “Christian” here on earth, and we will be sadden when we find many professing “Christians” not with us in Heaven.

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About Jacquelyn

Jacquelyn Van Sant lives in Mesa, Arizona, with her husband Bradley and their one-year-old son. She works as a web application developer for a large American university and is an active member of the Tempe SDA Church in Tempe, Arizona. In her free time, she enjoys singing, writing, drawing, and hiking. Jacquelyn wrote songs for Christian recording artist Jessica (Fisher) Cyiza's debut album New Life (2011).