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Topic: Heaven and Hell

Who Gets to Go to Heaven?

by Darrel Cline

The question at hand is: Who gets to go to heaven when they die? Catholics? Protestants? Islamic Fundamentalists? Taoists? Buddhists? Who? And how do we know?

We have already addressed the issue of how we are to know. The bottom line is that we are asking questions beyond the realm of present empirical evidence, so we must trust in the words of someone who has had experience we have not. Jesus Christ is the only person in history who could both make the claim to have been in heaven and back the claim up with an unimpeachable life. Many deceivers have made such claims, but history has always proven their depravity eventually. Therefore, I set the case before you in the words of Jesus Christ and the Bible which was inspired by God to testify of Him to us.

So, back to the question. What did Jesus say was the answer to the question of who gets to go to heaven when they die? He gave the answer in many different conversations that are recorded for us in the New Testament. One such conversation is recorded in the Gospel of John, chapter 14. In the midst of that conversation concerning who could go to heaven where He was going, He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father but by Me." (John 14:6).

What does this statement mean? Simply this, that no one who is trying to end up in heaven by any other means than Him, will end up there. This eliminates every member of every religion that is not Christian. And, it puts every person who calls himself a Christian on notice that one cannot be a real Christian without believing in the exclusivity of salvation through Jesus alone.

Now, some object that this is too narrow-minded. I admit that it is restrictive, but I also point out that Jesus is the one who said it. Thus, one cannot be a follower of Jesus without submitting to His words. Trying to call oneself a Christian while denying Jesus' words is like trying to be a Protestant while rejecting the principle of biblical authority, or like trying to be a Catholic and rejecting the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. There is too much contradiction there to allow the claim to be convincing.

In the articles that follow we will consider other statements which Jesus made to answer the question of who goes to heaven, but suffice it for now to say that Jesus Himself eliminated everyone outside the boundaries of Christianity. No man comes to the Father but by Jesus Christ. He said "If you believe not that I am He, you will die in your sins." Dying in your sins means rejection from heaven.

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