Do only the Good go to Heaven?
It is perhaps the view of many people that essentially a good moral life will guarantee a place in heaven. As long as the scales that weigh up your life show that you were more good than bad then you should be okay.
BUT this is not the view of the Bible. And no matter how popular or widely held a viewpoint about Christianity is, if it is not true according to the Bible, then it would be wrong to believe it.
So what does the Bible say?
Because God is a perfect and Holy God, He cannot and will not accept anything that isn't perfect either. If we were asked to draw the line between the good and bad people of the world based on good and bad moral and social behaviour, it would be very difficult to decide where that line would be. Who would have the correct judgement of what is right and what is wrong? Would there ever be an agreement on where that line should be? Wouldn't it be very unfair to deny the people just a little bit below that line (especially if it included you!)? After all, they only just missed out. But if they are allowed over the line, what about the people just a little bit below them and so on and so on...
God however is the perfect judge and has the right to set the line wherever He wants. But, as said above, He has set the line at perfection - nothing less than perfection will be accepted by God! Oh, dear! None of us is perfect: "No one is good - no one in all the world is innocent."; "Yes all have sinned; all fall short of Gods glorious ideal."(Romans 3v10, 23). Even bad thoughts are considered to make us imperfect (Matthew 5v21,22,27,28) and good deeds, "are as filthy rags"(Isaiah 64v6)
What are we to do?
Some people cannot believe that a loving God could send people to Hell and cut them off from Himself forever, but God has said that He will only accept perfection and no-one is perfect.
HOWEVER, Jesus because He was both God and man was able to live he perfect life. He once challenged His opponents to find any sin in Him and even they couldn't come up wi th anything (John 8v46). Because God loved us He sent Jesus to come and die in our place and take the punishment we deserved for disobeying Him and falling short of is ideal. By dying for us and being raised back to life, Jesus has paid our debts. If we trust in Jesus and live knowing that He did this for us, that it's not by our own efforts, then God now can see us through the death of Jesus and it's as if we never sinned in the first place. Because of what Jesus did, God can look at us as though we w ere perfect.
Therefore, anyone who accepts what God has done for us and puts their trust in Him and not their own good and bad deeds, is guaranteed to be rescued from hell and reserved a place in heaven. No one can get into heaven by any other means (Romans 3v21-26; John 3v16; Ephesians 2v4-9).
So, according to the Bible it is not true that "good" people get into heaven and bad people don't. On the contrary, heaven will be full of people who were really bad on earth, but who recognised what Jesus did for them and trusted in Him for forgiveness. No one is too bad or too far gone that Jesus cannot rescue him. But neither is ANYONE too good that they don't need Him. The Bible clearly says that there will be a judgement, that there is a heaven and a he ll. But the ironic thing is it won't be those who think that they are good enough who will go to heaven, but those who recognise that they are not good enough and therefore trust in Jesus' perfection that will get in.
At this point it is worth rememberin g that Christianity isn't only about heaven and hell. There is a very real Christian life that can be lived down here long before our deaths. Many Christians are happy to talk about their knowledge and love of God down here, in the present.
One aspect of how we know God down here and how He works with us concerns how we act and behave. As a result of knowing Jesus, Christians should be inspired and empowered to act like Him and will want to do good works out of love for Him and others. However, it isn 't those works that saves us but they prove that we have already been saved (James 2v18, 26; Ephesians 2v10).
There may be some things in this discussion that you would like to know more about (e.g. how Jesus' death can ensure forgiveness for our sins, what exactly the Bible says about works or judgement etc.) or there may be some things that you disagree with or don't understand. You may just wish to talk to someone about some of these things a little further. There is therefore a completely confidential e-mail address below which you can write to to ask questions, comment or arrange to meet someone - please feel free to write at any stage.