What a name for a Christian writer’s topic you might think, and rightly so. Is it not obvious that all Christians will eventually go to heaven? That is a very interesting question after you have asked it yourself a few times. What is interesting about the question is this; what should be so special about the Christian ‘badge’, as it were, that it should secure you heaven? The answer of course is that there is nothing in the Christian ‘badge’, that is in calling yourself by the Christian name that would secure you heaven. Therefore, what is the profit of wearing the Christian ‘badge’? The answer; no profit. So why be a Christian then? That is a question that many so-called Christians should ask themselves, if the only thing they know about their faith is that it is called Christianity and that you should go to Church on a Sunday and perform some rituals.
If I would ask you, what is the main doctrine of Christianity, what would your answer be? As I thought on this question, I got a bit confused because the problem is that there are so many denominations that I would first have to go and ask all of them what their main doctrine is before I can answer that question for myself. Of course, that should not be so, yet that is the reality. However, the short answer to the question should be what we read in John chapter three, is it not? What happens when you read John 3 is that Christianity is not mentioned anywhere; however, our Savior coins a very important term that term is the term, born again. Jesus says if you are born again, you will see the Kingdom of God; therefore wearing the Christian ‘badge’ secures you nothing if you separate it from the born again status. I want to stress this, the condition or status of being born again is where God puts His seal of approval, to put it like that.
Now, I just want to digress from the topic just quickly to ask a question; what do you and my denomination’s doctrine portray to the world? Is it that you should be stupendously prosperous i.e. Charismatism (my own word I think) or is it you should pray to Mary to pray to God for our sins i.e. Roman Catholics or is it an over emphasis on the baptisms etcetera? What is it that we as Christians should portray to the world? As I thought on this, it seems to me that we as Christians should portray only one thing to the world, with only one consequence of it, with only One guide and only One leader. What do I mean by that?
The one thing we should portray to the world is the love God has for the world, that is:
John 3:16 KJV “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” And
John 13:34-35 KJV “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another”
The one consequence? That the whole world should be born again, note not become Christians as such, Jesus did not tell Nicodemus he should become a Christian, but that he should attain the status of being born again.
John 3:3 KJV “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” And Matthew 7:21a “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven” The second quotation implies that you should be born again and that it will be God the Father’s will for people to be born again. It is not the Father’s will that any should perish but have everlasting life and Jesus says that everlasting life comes by being born again.
The One guide? The Holy Spirit of God:
John 14:16 KJV “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever”. And John 16:13 KJV “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come”. The reason we need guidance from the Holy Spirit is very evident when we look at the amount of religious conning that took place through history, even though many had the Word of God, they were still led astray by persuasive leaders that had their own agendas.
The One Leader? Only Jesus Christ
Matthew 23:8 “But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren”. And John 15:5 KJV “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing”
Let us make sure we get our spiritual leading and doctrine from Jesus and the Holy Spirit, after all, it is said, as I quoted above, that the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth, not the pastor or Church leadership. The pastors are there to equip you for the ministry. However, we should honour the leadership as the Bible teaches, but where the leadership digress from scripture, we should respectfully decline what they say and follow what the Bible teaches. I believe Martin Luther also said something to that effect.
However, is it then useless to call yourself a Christian? Another, thought provoking question, because if you as a Christian live out your religion today like the Pharisees lived out their religion in Jesus’ time, then your Christianity will be useless. The Pharisees were circumcised Jews, performing all the ritual, yet Jesus did not approve of them. The reason? They had a form of godliness, but denying the power there of. That means they made the word of God of no effect. You might call yourself a Christian, but are you born again according to the Word of God? If you are not, then you are a Christian in name only. That is to say, you accept the ritual, you are familiar with Jesus, however you do not confess Jesus Christ, as your Lord, and you do not believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead.
Born again people on the other hand are children of God that accept the teachings of Jesus Christ. They indeed made a heart decision about who Jesus Christ is, they made Him their Lord and believe that God did raise Him from the dead. That may not apply to everyone calling themselves Christians. I do not think that there is someone who actually has the bravery to say that everybody that calls themselves Christian actually is born again. There is a difference between accepting Church doctrine, as given by man in their denominations, and accepting the doctrine of Jesus Christ. Let me explain, you grow up with church doctrine, as Nicodemus or Paul grew up with doctrine concerning the true God. However, religious doctrine invariably leads you to ritual, keeps you busy with religiosity, and never brings you into direct ‘confrontation’ as it were with Jesus Christ.
Jesus actually then has to come to you to shake you out of your religion, like He did with Paul, to show you that your religion which was supposed to bring you to Him, kept you from Him. Jesus said to the Pharisees that they searched the scriptures to find salvation, yet when the salvation was sent to them, they rejected it because it did not fit their religion. It is not that the scriptures were unclear to understand, but that the traditions of man made the Word of God of no effect.
I have no problem with the description, Christian, it is a good description, however, the name Christian is connected with world religion, in other words, it is one of the major world religions, and it is not related to true relationship with God nowadays. When you became born again you did not necessarily became a Christian, because many of us considered ourselves Christians before we were born again. When you became born again, you finally accepted that you need a real relationship with God, because before that what people gave you were not God, but Catholicism, Protestantism, Charismatism, etcetera and that is where we definitely lost the plot of God.
I see a big loophole in Christianity today, and that is the ridiculous situation where you can be a Christian without being born again. Just to put you in the picture, it started out in reverse. Others who had a different religion eventually called the disciples, Christians and that name just stuck through the ages. That also means the disciples did not gave themselves that name but others used the name to describe them. They were first called Christians in a city called Antioch, in ancient Syria, which is Turkey today, Acts 11: 26. In addition, the word Christian appears only two times in the Bible and the word Christians only once. Maybe the most important thing to remember is that Jesus did not call us Christians, but His ecclesia, which is His church or called out ones. These called out ones would obviously be all born again disciples of Jesus Christ.
However, as I said there is no problem if you consider yourself a Christian, I consider myself a Christian. The crux of the matter is that the name Christian have no real power behind it as in the times of the disciples or as in the times of the persecution, currant persecution of Christians excluded of course.
However, we have to realize that many of us who grew up in a supposed Christian country, many times are under the illusion that it is all right if we go to church, are baptized etcetera. Nevertheless, we never get to a relationship with God as we should and we somehow avoid the term born again, because we are unsure about it. As I grew up, I saw people who called themselves born again, as religious nuts, not knowing that being born again is where it all starts in Christianity. I was actually never taught as a child that the term, born again was a Bible term, which Jesus first coined, how ignorant I was as a youngster going to Church.
Today we get many church going people, they attend, mass or celebration meetings, but if you ask them; are you born again, they say they are not ready yet or are offended that you should question their Christianity. But how long must you go to Church before you become obedient to the gospel? If you die, you will be buried because you have Church membership, but you will certainly not go to heaven if you are not born again. How can you have Church membership, and not receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?
Consider the following scriptures:
Hebrews 4:2 “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it”
1Peter 4:17-19 “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”
Note Peter ask where shall the righteous appear, not Christians and although in his time the word Christian was undoubtedly used for people who are righteous before God, can we say the same today? There are and indeed will be people who disobey the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which they hear. The big problem is that many of them sit in the Church every Sunday!
Now just to explain where the heading of our topic come from. How can I make the statement that Christians will not go to heaven? This is it:
Matthew 7:21-24 “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name and in thy name have cast out devils. And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Astonishing words is it not! The people speaking to Jesus in the quote above obviously would have considered themselves Christians and they would have obviously gone to Church many a Sunday, yet they will receive those words from Jesus Christ Himself. Now, the big problem with the scripture above is that it is a prophecy, do you get it! It is a prophecy, which means it is still lying in the future; it will happen someday. However, the good news is that we who are thinking on this topic now can still make a change, before we die.
Let us for now forget our denomination, our religion, our ‘Christianity’ and ask ourselves, am I born again? Like I said, there are those who will hear with astonishment ‘I never knew you’ from Jesus and then it will be too late for them to rectify their state before God! Today the Bible says in Acts 17:30-31 KJV "God now commandeth all men everywhere to repent: Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead". Being born again is not an issue of someday I will make right with God and I will give my life to Him, if you call yourself a Christian how can you be disobedient to the gospel like that? Our scripture above says, God commands everyone, which is ‘Christian’ and non-Christian alike to repent and come to Him.
In any case, the Christian ‘badge’, as I want to call it, is useless before God, but how can I say that. Well, Jesus says and I quote, “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven” That is to say, you might call yourself a Christian, but I never knew you. The issue is really this, in whose eyes should you be a Christian? If God had called us Christians, which He does not, He would have considered the term ‘born again’ as synonymous with the name Christian. The reason would be that there would have been no logical reason to say you are a Christian, that is following Jesus, but not being born again as Jesus would want it and that should be the view of everyone who calls themselves a Christian.
However, as I said before, who of us have the conviction to say that everyone who calls himself or herself a Christian is really born again? I do not think we can say that with conviction, which means that the Church is full of people who think they are on their way to heaven when they are not.
Christian, I would urge you if you are not sure if you have really made Jesus Christ Lord of your life that you would do so expeditiously. You cannot put your faith in your pastor, so called ‘priest’, so called ‘father’, or Church doctrine; put your faith in Jesus, and from your heart make Him lord of your life.
Romans chapter ten says in verses 9 to 13 KJV “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Remember, your longing for God should not be filled with Christianity, but with Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and The Father and not with some ‘ism’. You may call yourself a Christian if you want to, but to call yourself born again is even better. One of the big drawbacks with religious tradition is that it is mixed up with God’s original plan and in many cases replaces God’s original plan. Then after years of tradition, people forget to ask the question, is my religion still Biblical or not? People can trust others so emphatically with their everlasting life that it is scary to me. I can never, and will never put my trust in a man, my pastor is good, but he is not that good, I rather put my trust in Jesus Christ.
I put no blind faith in a man and it does not matter who or what he is, John says in, 2John 1:9-11 KJV “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”
Do Christians go to heaven? Well, I suppose the answer is yes and no, if you are born again you will be with Jesus in paradise. However, since we saw that only wearing the Christian badge does not amount to much if the Christian is not born again he will hear from no one less than Jesus Christ himself, and I quote, Matthew 7:21-24 KJV “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name and in thy name have cast out devils. And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
I have to end off with giving you a short prayer to make sure that you are born again. It is just as simple as praying to God in the Name of Jesus Christ:
Father I ask in the Name of Jesus Christ that You should forgive all my sins, which I have committed against You. I accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour, I confess now that I believe that You, Father, by the Holy Spirit raised Jesus from the dead and that Jesus lives now to intercede for me. Jesus come and reign in my heart, make me more and more like You as I depend on You to transform me day by day until you come to fetch me. Father I ask all in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Please seek a Bible Teaching Church congregation if you do not belong to one yet, this will help you in spiritual growth and maturity.
God bless you as you have done this, and God bless you if you have been born again already.