Do Good People Go to Heaven?

A Daily Encounter reader asks, "My aunts are of a non-Christian faith and have been good persons all their lives. They are elderly and I'd like to believe that they will be in heaven. I talked to God about this yesterday. He did not speak directly back to me, but I felt that they would. God is a good and understanding God, and although not all of his children are believers, I think he will use his judgment when it comes to the end times as to who is, and who is not allowed in heaven."

Dear Friend: Thank you for your email and for your concern about your aunts. First, however, the only way to know and understand God's plan for salvation and who qualifies for heaven is to know what his Word, the Bible, teaches, for God never acts contrary to his Word.

Second, sad to say no matter how good we are, our goodness doesn't qualify us for God's heaven. None of us is sinless no matter how good we are by humanity's standard, and because God is a God of absolute holiness, no sinner could ever survive in God's presence any more than a moth could survive in a flame. It just isn't possible.

No sinner could ever survive in
God's presence any more than
a moth could survive in a flame.

Third, God is also a God of absolute justice and therefore all sinners—no matter how small—must be judged, otherwise God wouldn't be God. Because God IS God, the just judgment of all sin is death; that is, spiritual death which is actually eternal separation from a holy and just God in the place the Bible calls hell, whatever and wherever that may be.

Fourth, fortunately however, God is also a God of absolute love. That's why he sent his Son Jesus to die in our place on the cross to pay the just penalty for all of our sins. If being good, religious, sincere, or being anything else could have qualified us for getting into God's heaven, Jesus would never have had to come to earth to die for our sins.

Fifth, to enter God's heaven we have to be saved or delivered from sin's consequences. That is, we need to be totally forgiven by God and cleansed from our sinfulness. All we need to do is: 1) believe that Jesus is the Son of God; 2) that he died in our place on the cross to pay the just penalty for our sins; 3) confess to God and repent of (turn from) our sinfulness; 4) ask God for his forgiveness; and 5) accept and invite Jesus into our heart and life as our Savior.

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