Salvation - The Bible tells us good people go to heaven.
"God does not show favoritism." Romans 2:11
Salvation is without a doubt, the biggest question a religion is supposed to answer, and most do a poor job of it. Does a good person like Ghandi go to hell because he's not Christian? Of course not! Good people in hell just doesn't make sense. But most religions claim that you must belong to their particular religion, or even their particular denomination in order to be saved because they're the only ones who have it exactly right. That's not the way we see it.
The scriptures tell us that who we are is more important than what we believe or do. Take, for example, the following quote: "For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God" (Romans 2:28, 29). What Paul is saying is that circumcision, an outward act, doesn't save a person. Circumcision of the spirit, of the heart, isn't a literal circumcision, but it is to say that our changes need to be inward. We need to not just do the acts of a good person, or believe the proper things, but we need to BE a good person. After all, a bad person can do good things, and can say the right thing...but if inside they burn with hatred, should they be in heaven?
Think about it. If God is all loving - and we believe He is - wouldn't He want to surround Himself with other people in heaven who are loving as well? Most Christians agree that God is all-loving, that is, unless you aren't a Christian. Then you're condemned to hell. That doesn't sound like God is all-loving, does it? We really believe that God is all-loving, and He loves us no matter what religion we belong to. It's about who we are! He cares more about our life than our religion. He cares that we love one another and what we intend toward each other. Are you basically a good person who loves God and others more than yourself, or are you basically a self-centered person who is more concerned about your own power and wealth? If the latter claims faith in Jesus, do they really belong in heaven?
Many Christians will cite chapter and verse to show how belief in Jesus is the only way to be saved. Yet they fail to notice all the scripture that tells us that we will be rewarded according to our works, which is saying that good people, regardless of religion, are saved. Take for example the book of Revelation, where Jesus tells the Christian churches, “I know your works.” He doesn't say “I know your faith,” but “I know your works.” This same refrain is spoken to other Christian churches as well, and at the end of Revelation it says, “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12).
Notice that the reward is given to “every man” not just “every Christian”. Jesus states in the Gospel of John that, “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also” (John 10:16). Many cite Paul's epistles to claim that faith in Jesus alone is the only way to salvation, but Paul also says God, “will give to each person according to what he has done” (Romans 2:6).Again, "each person" not "each Christian" will be rewarded, and they will be rewarded not on their faith, but on their life.
There are many more scriptural references that can be cited showing God's preference for our works to our faith. On the flip side, we do not believe that you “earn” heaven by doing good things. Paul is right in that we cannot claim merit for our works. Even evil people can do good things, and they can also claim faith in Jesus, which is why God consistently tells us that it is important to love Him, and love each other. And that is how even non-Christians can be saved, as they love each other and God as they know Him to be, they will in actuality be obeying God's teachings and laws and therefore will be rewarded according to their heart. That's what an all-loving God is concerned about, our heart, not our religion.
For more about how we understand Paul's statements regarding salvation apart from the law, listen to our Bible study, "Which faith, which law?"
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