Do Good People Go to Heaven?
If ever there was an individual who would have qualified for heaven through his goodness it would have been Nicodemus, a religious leader of Christ's day.
By all human standards Nicodemus would have been a model citizen—strong in character, a man of integrity, and a sincere religious leader. It was to this good man that Jesus said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."1 In other words, unless a man/woman is born again he will not even see the kingdom of God/heaven let alone enter it.
To be born again meant that Nicodemus, like everybody else, needed to be born spiritually (as well as physically) to qualify for entering God's heaven.
Once, after addressing a group of church workers, the famous evangelist Dwight Moody was confronted by an angry person. "Mr. Moody," she said, "do you mean to tell me that I, an educated woman, taught from childhood in good ways, and all my life interested in the church and doing good, must enter heaven the same way as the worst criminal of our day?"
"No, madam," said Mr. Moody, "I don't. God does. He says everyone who would enter heaven, no matter how good they think they are, or how well educated, or zealous in good works, must be born again [that is, born spiritually]."
Jesus replied, "I am the way
and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father
[God] except through me.
The difficult thing to grasp is that our sin has made us spiritually dead to God. This is why we all need to be reborn spiritually. To become a member of the human family, we were born physically. To become a member of God's family, we need to be born again spiritually. But how can we do this?
Contrary to what many people think, it isn't by being good or through good works…or religion. It is simply by confessing our sinfulness to God and by believing that his Son, Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, and by responding to his call to receive him into our heart and life as personal Lord and Savior. When Jesus spoke to his disciples about going to prepare a place (heaven) his followers, Thomas wanted to know the way to go there. Jesus replied, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father [God] except through me."2 The only way to God and into God's heaven is through Jesus and it is through accepting him as our Lord and Savior that we are born spiritually.
If you're not sure that you have been born again spiritually, you can be—right now—by clicking on the God's Invitation link below and praying the prayer on this page.
If you need more information, click on the Know God button below and read the article, "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian.
1. John 3:3, (NIV).
2. John 14:6, (NIV).
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