If a good person dies without accepting Jesus, will they be in heaven?

Co-Host: Let’s talk with Lisa in Wenatchee, Washington. Hi Lisa.

Caller: Hi!

Pastor Doug: And your question?

Caller: Well, I have a couple of questions. The first question is what does the Bible say about people who are goodhearted, good to their friends, just a good person, but hasn’t accepted Jesus?

Pastor Doug: Are you asking this question because you’ve got someone special you’re thinking about?

Caller: Yes. I want to know if I’m going to see them in Heaven.

Pastor Doug: Did they pass away?

Caller: No – I’m more for the future you know.

Pastor Doug: You’re just wondering, “What if they never accept Jesus?”

Caller: “What if”, right. But he has questions about the Lord, and he’s not sure. He was raised in a Christian home but he’s not sure.

Pastor Doug: Well I don’t want to discourage you, and I also don’t want to leave you hopeless. To be honest with you, the majority of people in the world live for themselves. And they’re some good people by the world’s standard, but they still do not have their hearts renewed. There are people in the church who claim to be born again and they go to church and outwardly do the right things, but they are not born again. There are people in the world who have hearts that are golden, and God is going to save them based upon their walking in the Light that He has given them. In other words, there are some people who maybe have never heard the Gospel story.

And the book of Romans in chapter 1 seems to indicate that there are people who obeyed the Law that the Holy Spirit revealed to them, and they’ll be saved based upon walking in the Light that they had. Jesus made a statement where He said, ‘If you did not see, you would have no sin.’ In other words, people who know more are accountable for more. Those who know the Gospel and know what God expects and they turn their back well they’re in trouble. But people who are walking in the Light that they understand, God is not going to condemn them for the darkness that they have.

Now you know, I don’t know where your friend is in the relationship. A lot of people have been turned off by religion because of the hypocrites in the church, or because of the bad PR public relations they’ve heard and they’re being deceived by the media and everything – and God knows – maybe they have very sincere, genuine hearts. But I can’t say what the future would be except just to know that man looks on the outward appearance the Bible says, but God looks on the heart and if a person’s heart is regenerated by the Spirit, then that’ll be the main criteria. Let me give you something to think about.

Caller: Ok.

Pastor Doug: Jesus said the hour is coming in which all that are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth, they that have done good unto the Resurrection of life and they that have done evil, the resurrection of damnation. I read that at my brother’s funeral. My brother never professed Christianity, but he had a golden heart. He started a camp for children with cystic fibrosis. He helped all of his friends every way he could.

I was at his deathbed and he asked me to pray for him and I don’t know what happened but – in the Judgment Jesus said He’ll separate the sheep from the goats –Matthew 25, verse 31 and He’ll ask the question when I was hungry, did you feed me? When I was thirsty, did you give me drink? When I was naked, did you clothe me? When I was a stranger, did you come to me and take me in? When I was in prison or sick, did you visit me? And He’s going to judge people based upon did they love one another.

Caller: Yes.

Pastor Doug: So the great commandments are love the Lord love your neighbor. Now the Gospel enhances us to do that. I mean I’m not trying to separate good deeds from the Gospel because you can’t do that, but the Gospel is what makes us love. So that will be the criteria – loving God, loving your neighbor. Ok?

Caller: Thank you.
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