I saw the following post on one of my Facebook groups. I think it pretty much sums up many people’s views on Christianity today.
“You do not have to believe in Christ to go to Heaven. If you live the way Jesus wants us to live you will go to Heaven, believing in Jesus will help you live the way he wants you to. Not believing in Jesus means you are less likely to live the way he said to. So whereas it does not mean that those who aren’t Christians can’t get to Heaven, non-Christians are less likely to go to Heaven.”
The only way that I could respond to this is not really to list a bunch of scripture verses, but to simply ask the question, does this person believe in the authority and inerrancy of scripture? By making the statements that this person made, it would seem the answer is no. There is a lot more I could say right here, but I won’t go into any more detail right now. I will say however, that if we believe that parts of scripture may not be inerrant or sufficient, then what is the use in believing any of it? If parts of it are in error, then how can we trust it at all?
So, if we believe the inerrancy of scripture, then I believe Acts 4:12 refutes that first sentence of the statement made by this person.
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12
The “name” that this is referring to is Jesus (cf. Acts 4). Now, to this person, I would say the following: just believing the facts about Jesus or trying to live a certain way will not get us into heaven (Matthew 7:13-14, 21-23). Jesus said it himself in Luke:
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” – Luke 14:26-27
Does this mean that we have to literally hate our relatives? I could say a lot on this, but I will just answer with a simple, no that is not what it means at all in that context.
The fact of the matter is that Jesus is the only way to be reconciled to God (John 14:6). Without repenting and putting our entire faith and trust in Him, we cannot go to heaven.
“A true believer is one who signs up for life. The bumper sticker sentiment “Try Jesus” is a mentality foreign to real discipleship – faith is not an experiment, but a lifelong commitment. It means taking up the cross daily, giving all for Christ each day. It means no reservations, no uncertainty, no hesitation (Luke 9:59-61).” – John MacArthur, The Gospel According to Jesus, p. 225
– Adam Smith