"One of the sweetest ladies I have ever known just died recently. She was 95 years old. I knew her all my life. She never said a harsh word to anyone. Love for others oozed out of every pore. She was always so helpful and kind and the most non-judgmental person I have ever known. However she was not a Christian, she was Buddhist. I just can´t believe she ever did anything to deserve being cast into a place of eternal torment. If that´s what Christians really believe then I don´t want any part of it." Starstuff
I have no doubt that she was a sweet lady, and it´s great that you think that she never said a harsh word to anyone. I´m sorry that you lost a dear friend. My dad died a few years ago, and I thought the world of him.
Still, I have to be honest with you and ask how you knew that in her 95 years she never said a harsh word to a soul. Perhaps you are being charitable yourself and kindly giving your friend the benefit of the doubt. But let´s say that she was almost morally perfect, except for three slips a day. Just three times each 24 hours did she perhaps think a lustful thought, or fail to love God with her heart, mind, soul, and strength, or she didn´t love her neighbor (everyone) as much as she loved herself (which is the essence of the requirement of God´s Law). Maybe she became angry without cause, was greedy, unthankful to God, or selfish. But she only slipped three times each day. So she sins against God a thousand times a year. If we take a count from the age of ten, that´s 85,000 sins (crimes against His Law) that God has seen and must punish because of His perfect holiness.
Most of us would sin ten times as much as that, with our lustful, selfish, self-righteous, unthankful, and greedy thoughts, as well as our lying, stealing, blasphemy and our failing to do that we know we should. That´s why the Bible says that each of us have a "multitude" of sins (see James 5:20).
So, if your elderly friend was as perfect as you say she was, she doesn´t need a Savior. She will be fine on Judgment Day. However, if she was like the rest of us, and she actually became pious in the old age because she was driven by a guilty conscience, she desperately needed God´s forgiveness. And she could have found that in the person of Jesus Christ, not in atheistic Buddhism.
A simple answer to a simple question
"I would like a simple answer to a simple question. Do you believe that people who die without believing in Jesus Christ as their savior will be saved and go to Heaven?"
God promised that He would liberate the human race from death, and that He would do this through the suffering death of the Jewish Messiah (see Isaiah 53). The result would be peace with God for all who would humble themselves, repent and trust the God-given Savior (see Isaiah 55:1-3). Peace with God would mean everlasting life for humanity.
The Old Testament said that the result of conversion would be a new heart with new desires--desires that wanted to please the God, with Whom we were once at enmity (a "heart of stone" towards Him):
"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them" (Ezekiel 36:25-27).
The salvation of God (eternal life) would be offered to all men: to the Jew first, then to the Greek, the Indian, as well as Chinese, Russian, Moslem, Hindu, Buddhist, Kiwis, Aussies and even to atheists--those who are red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in His sight. Anyone can be saved from death and Hell (see Romans 10:13).
There is only one stipulation. They must come to the God-provided Savior, not through a man-made religion which cannot wash away sin. Jesus Christ is the only One who can forgive sin and give peace with God because He was God manifest in human form. There is a big reason for this exclusivity.
All man-made religions are "works righteous" religions. They think that they can get to Heaven by being good, praying, fasting, doing good works, through repentance, etc. (see Romans 10:2-3). This is because they don´t understand one very important truth. God is utterly perfect. His Law therefore demands moral perfection. It says that lust is adultery in His eyes and hatred is murder. His moral Law (the Ten Commandments) shows us that He is a Judge and we are desperate criminals in His sight. That changes everything. Now, anything we offer the Judge isn´t "good works," but a despicable attempt to bribe Him, and that is an abomination in His sight (see Proverbs 21:27). The only thing that can save us is the mercy of the Judge.
Fortunately, we are told that God is "rich" in mercy. In His kindness He provided a Savior--someone to pay our fine in His life´s blood. That happened at the cross.
This is what that Savior said about Himself: "I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the father but through me" (John 14:6). Old and New Testament Scripture is consistent: "They shall be My people, and I will be their God; then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them" (Jeremiah 32:38), "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
Tragically, whoever dies in their sins will get fearful justice. Whoever dies in Christ will have mercy and thus have everlasting life. It´s very simple. See Romans 2:6-9.
So let´s not complain about God being unfair because people perish if they die in their sins. Instead, we should become missionaries and spend our lives telling this God-hating world the good news of eternal salvation for all humanity. I did.
Submitted 5/22/2009 9:47:14 PM | Author: Ray Comfort