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God's Plan for Eternity

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Some believe that all who seek God with a sincere heart will be admitted to heaven, even if their quest is via a non-Christian religion. Others vehemently protest that no one can be saved apart from Christ.

This controversy reflects a major philosophical dilemma in mainstream Christian theology. Only a minority of the world's population even claims to be a Christian. Are all non-Christians lost and condemned to hell? If so, how does this fit the Bible description of an all-powerful God of love who does not want anyone to perish? But to suggest that someone can attain salvation without Christ contradicts the teachings of the Scriptures.

The Bible lays down conditions for salvation:

Acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior: “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 Acts 4:12Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
American King James Version×

Obedience to God: “Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21 Matthew 7:21Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.
American King James Version×

And living according to the Spirit: “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1 Romans 8:1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
American King James Version×
) and, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13 Romans 8:13For if you live after the flesh, you shall die: but if you through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live.
American King James Version×

Some non-Christian religions involve human sacrifice, temple prostitution and even bestiality as part of their worship. Could a sincere adherent of such a religion be welcomed into eternal life with God? Jesus said following human tradition is vain worship: “And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:9 Matthew 15:9But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
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) How much more so if those traditions violate the law of God?

It is not even enough to confess Jesus as Lord (Matthew 7:21 Matthew 7:21Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.
American King James Version×
quoted above). Peter wrote, “Now 'If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and sinner appear?'” (1 Peter 4:18 1 Peter 4:18And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
American King James Version×
). Jesus concluded, “Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:14 Matthew 7:14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads to life, and few there be that find it.
American King James Version×

What is the fate of non-Christians? Eternal life with God or condemnation to the fires of hell? Few have considered a third option that can be demonstrated from the Scriptures. Most Christians assume that God is trying to save everyone in this life. What if He isn't? If God is allowing most of mankind to live life without the knowledge of His plan, He could forgive them for their ignorance. This is precisely what Paul taught in Romans 11:32 Romans 11:32For God has concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy on all.
American King James Version×
, “For God has committed them all in disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.” He explained in Romans chapters 9 through 11 that the failure of most of Israel is only temporary. All Israel will yet have an opportunity for salvation “So all Israel will be saved, as it is written: 'The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins” (Romans 11:26-27 Romans 11:26-27 26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27 For this is my covenant to them, when I shall take away their sins.
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). God will resurrect them to physical life to allow them to learn His ways (Ezekiel 37:1-14 Ezekiel 37:1-14 1 The hand of the LORD was on me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the middle of the valley which was full of bones, 2 And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, see, they were very dry. 3 And he said to me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, you know. 4 Again he said to me, Prophesy on these bones, and say to them, O you dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. 5 Thus said the Lord GOD to these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live: 6 And I will lay sinews on you, and will bring up flesh on you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the LORD. 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. 8 And when I beheld, see, the sinews and the flesh came up on them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. 9 Then said he to me, Prophesy to the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus said the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live. 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up on their feet, an exceeding great army. 11 Then he said to me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them, Thus said the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13 And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, 14 And shall put my spirit in you, and you shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall you know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, said the LORD.
American King James Version×
). They will have an entire lifetime to live God's way and compare the results with how they lived in their previous lifetime. Most will repent and be saved.

Since God is not a respecter of persons, this opportunity will be available to all who never had a chance for salvation in this life. They are neither destined for bliss nor doomed to destruction. Their fate is yet to be determined. God has a better plan for eternity than most realize.

One more point should be made regarding the eternal destiny of any person—Christian or non-Christian. Our fate does not lie in the hands of any human being. Nor is it determined by rulings or doctrines of any church organization. Only God can make that determination. Instead of arguing over who God will let into heaven, we need to let God decide who will spend eternity with Him and do all we can to make sure that includes us.

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  • Nelson

    I wonder often as us, who call ourselves Christians, having knowledge of the will of God, often looking honestly into ourselves, we see so many flaws and how much to grow in knowledge and behavior! I also wonder, watching some (very few) people who do not follow any religion but believe in Jesus and in God, and have mercy and the behavior of a true Christian! As the Samaritan! I will not try to guess how God will judge them, but some times I wonder how GOD will judge me…! I have heard too, that religion will not save you, I believe that, by examples that many times we give of ourselves, but if the teachings of our Church are the teachings of Christ, then our chance increases with respect to eternal life and mercy of GOD!
    I also think they consider me save only by attending church and being Christian is my passport to eternal life in the fields of the Lord, I’m sure it’s a big mistake! It is always necessary to continue the inner battle, and reach the knowledge of truth will be reflected in our attitudes!

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