In another article (015) we considered one statement Jesus made in the context of the question: Who gets to go to heaven when they die? That statement was: "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father but by Me." (John 14:6). Part of the answer to the question is given in this statement. Jesus said only Christians go to heaven when they die. This has never been a popular claim--even among those who claim to be Christians. We live in a culture where relativity and inclusion are higher values than truth. But Jesus plainly said that tolerance at the level of final religious truth was simply tolerance of the destruction of those who belong to other religions. Jesus made the statement. Any argument you have with the claim is an argument with Him.
In this article we want to ask a more specific question: what kind of Christian gets to go to heaven when they die? Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord', 'Lord', will enter into the kingdom of heaven." Only Christians call Jesus Lord. So, not all Christians will go to heaven when they die. Who will?
To answer, let us make a couple of observations. First, we typically divide Christianity into three major segments: Eastern Orthodox; Roman Catholic; and Protestant. Within these three major segments, there are a multitude of diversities, much like the almost infinite variety of colors that spring from the primary colors--red, blue, and yellow. But, second, it is man who makes these distinctions, not God. The distinctions have arisen over time because of the unwillingness of men to work through their doctrinal differences until they have come to a common understanding of the truth. So, because God didn't make the differences, He does not use them to determine who gets to go to heaven when they die. Therefore, being the right color (Orthodox, Catholic, or Protestant) is not how destiny is determined. Some Eastern Orthodox Christians, who call Jesus Lord, will enter into His Kingdom, and some will not. Some Roman Catholic Christians, who call Jesus Lord, will enter into His Kingdom, and some will not. Some Protestant Christians, who call Jesus Lord, will enter into His Kingdom, and some will not.
How is it determined who will enter and who will not? The answer is given by Jesus in Matthew 7:22-23. There Jesus said, "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness'." (NASB). Here Jesus plainly says that calling Him Lord won't get you in; doing miracles in His name won't get you in; prophesying in His name won't get you in; and even exercising the power to cast out demons in His name won't get you in.
Knowing Him, or rather, being known by Him. But, what does it mean to know the Lord, or be known by Him? More on that in the next article.