One of the most significant objections to Christianity is the idea that ‘only Christians go to heaven’. Not only does this come across as incredibly intolerant, it’s also horrifying for all those who have not come to place their faith in Jesus to save them.
Many have asked why God can’t just take everyone to heaven the moment they die. And in response they’re often told that a Holy God can’t reconcile with sinful human beings unless a payment is made for sin.
Now this might explain the need for Jesus to die on the cross, but it still doesn’t explain why everyone can’t just go to heaven: Doesn’t God love everyone? Doesn’t the Bible teach that He wants all people to be saved? Didn’t Jesus die to pay for everyone’s sins? If so, why can’t everyone just go to heaven?
Here are three things to consider…
1. THE BIBLE IS CLEAR THAT FAITH IS A REQUIREMENT FOR SALVATION
John 3:16-17 says…
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
2. THE BIBLE DOESN’T EXPLAIN WHY FAITH IS A REQUIREMENT FOR SALVATION
Unfortunately the Bible doesn’t really say why faith is a requirement. And this can be very frustrating. But just because we don’t understand why something happens, doesn’t mean it’s not true. We experience this in science all the time.
Take Gravitational Force for example…
Scientists know that the Gravitational Force between two objects increases as the size of the masses increases. They also know that the Gravitational Force decreases as the distance between the masses increases. They’re even able to use the above formula to calculate the exact strength of the force in newtons.
But there are still many questions that remain: Why is Gravitational Force related to the amount of mass? Why does it decrease as the masses move further apart? Why is it so consistent? Why isn’t it affected by temperature, or volume, or density, or the type of matter? And why are we able to be so precise? It’s one thing to be able to notice a trend, it’s another thing entirely to be able to develop a formula that’s so precise we can use it to put a man on the moon.
Just because something is difficult to understand, doesn’t mean it’s not true.
3. HERE ARE SOME POSSIBLE EXPLANATIONS
In the Book of Exodus, we read the story of the Passover. God told the Israelites to cover their door posts with the blood of a lamb. When the Angel of Death saw the blood, He knew to ‘passover’ that particular house. It’s interesting though that it wasn’t enough for the blood to be shed. It had to be personally applied to each family’s door post.
In the same way, Jesus’ blood was shed for all humanity, but it has to be personally applied to each person’s life. This happens when we place our faith in Jesus to save us. His blood saves us from death.
Just because someone has bought us a gift, doesn’t mean we have actually received it.
In the same way, just because Jesus has bought us the gift of eternal life, doesn’t mean we have actually received it. We must receive it by faith.
Just because the ransom has been paid, doesn’t mean the child has come home.
In the same way, just because Jesus laid his life down as a ransom for us, doesn’t mean we have come home to live with our heavenly Father.
Just because the bridge has been built, doesn’t mean we’ve walked across it.
In the same way, just because the bridge between God and humanity has been built, doesn’t mean we’ve walked across it.