Is it fair for good people to end up in Hell just because they didn’t receive the salvation of Jesus?

Of course it is fair. Heaven is God’s home. If a person arrived at your doorstep saying they’re a good person, would you let him in to live with you as long as he wanted? Of course not! If you have a good excuse not to let that good person in, then give God the benefit of the doubt too. He has given us reasons in the Bible.

God does you one better: He allows sinners into His house! All who can come to Jesus confessing their sin and need of a Savior get into God’s house. That’s a fantastic deal and it’s too bad people are rejecting it. Paul the apostle called himself the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15) and got in. The Pharisees in Jesus’ day considered themselves to be good people, and Jesus had harsh words for them (Matthew 23). Good people are not accepting the offer of salvation; sinners are. Jesus said that it wasn’t the Pharisees, but the prostitutes who were entering into the kingdom of Heaven before them  (Matthew 21:31-32). They had grasped hold of the grace of God for sinners, that God loved them and received sinners.

Jesus named one reason why people reject the offer of salvation: they don’t like people telling them they’re wrong or bad (John 3:20). So how can they accept salvation from Jesus? But to sinners who recognize their need for a God to forgive them, God goes out to them and brings them to Jesus.

I suspect that most of the people who use the question answered by this article are thinking too well of themselves. However, our culture fosters this. If we do better at our jobs, we can get a pay raise. The city rewards certain individuals for their contributions to the community. If you work at your studies, you could get a better grade, or other recognition. Good deeds are rewarded.

The problem is that they are misapplied here. Just as a convicted multi-murderer on death row can’t get out by pleading his many good deeds, even so a good person can’t plead his good deeds to escape the condemnation that God has already levied on him for his sins. The good news, for you who wonder why your good deeds are not good enough, is that God has given us the Ten Commandments to help us see how we are fallen; how we are criminals in his sight.

The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) tell us why we are not good enough to enter Heaven on our own. They show us God’s high standards of living, and none of us live up to them. Just breaking one of them condemns us (James 2:10). The very first commandment tells us not to have any gods beside the God who brought the Israelites out from Egypt. So, if you hold anything in life as more important than this God, then you are condemned. Your only way out is to come to Jesus for forgiveness, then God adopts you into His family. He also gives you the Holy Spirit to show you how to live up to God’s standard of faith. There is no way to God but through Jesus (John 14:6), not good deeds.

Just as it is fair for you to determine for yourself who lives in your house, so God has done the same. But he has also put those conditions in writing and sent his messengers all over the world to inform all.

The wording of “Just because” they did not accept Jesus and his salvation shows a gross misunderstanding of the salvation he offers. “Just because” counts the offer as a little thing. Look what is in the salvation package:

Forgiveness of all sins
Given a righteous standing with God
An eternal life relationship with God
A prayer life where God responds
The person of the Holy Spirit dwelling within to guide into truth
Power over sin
A new purpose and reason for living
A new family
Resurrection from the dead
Rewards for good deeds
… and more. (See Ephesians chapters 1-3.)

God tells us the truth of our sin, not to hurt us or wound our pride, but to help us come to him in the right spirit, as sinners who need a Savior.

About Steve Husting

Steve Husting lives in Southern California with his wife and son. He enjoys encouraging others through writing, and likes reading, digital photography, the outdoors, calligraphy, making iPhone apps, and chocolate. He has written several books, iPhone apps, and hundreds of Christian devotionals. Steve is also having a great time illustrating God's Word with calligraphy.
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