A part of The Fate of the Unbeliever
This unfortunate teaching has really gained support in recent years and nothing could be more distant from the truth. This teaching is known as universalism. These people see eternal punishment or hell of any kind to be incompatible with God’s love.
Universalists find it impossible to believe that Christianity is the only way to heaven. They cannot fathom a God who would send devout Muslims who do not hold Christ as their savior to hell.
Likewise, most will say that everyone worships the same God; they simply have different names for him and worship him in different ways. Some will quote Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”
Univeralists will also quote I Timothy 2:3-4, “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” There are numerous clergy who, even if they do not hold to other universalists’ teachings, believe that all will be saved.
Unfortunately, this is simply not true, as nice of a thought as it may be. Honestly, who really wants to think that their neighbor, best friend, parent, or sibling will not go to heaven. Even worse is the thought that if they don’t go to heaven, their only other option is hell. Because of this, many have simply ignored the consequences of sin.
Truthfully, I could stop right here and declare this view absolute garbage. What good is Christianity if everyone goes to heaven anyway? Is it simply the best set of guidelines to live life by? Why missionaries? Why church, aside for fellowship? Why worship? Why would we care about anything at all religious if everyone went to heaven? I could go on with this for quite a while as to how this makes no sense, but allow me to continue forming my case.
Romans chapter 3 declares, “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together becomes worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather through the law we become conscious of sin.”
What becomes of all of those who aren’t righteous? Christians are declared righteous through faith in Christ but what about those who are not righteous, those who are obvious sinners. Does God turn His back and let them slip into heaven? Does God say, well, you tried to live a good life, but you were following the wrong religion all the time? But hey, I’m a loving God, so I’ll let it slip. Or what about- Hey Hitler, I’m sorry you didn’t get the memo that the Jews are my people. Since I’m a forgiving God, I’ll forget about it this time, just don’t let it happen again.
Seriously, I have a very hard time believing that anyone who thinks everyone goes to heaven expects to bump into Adolph Hitler while they’re there.
Sin separates us from God and we have no right to expect anything but judgment for our sins. If sin did not prevent us from reaching heaven, Jesus Christ had absolutely no reason to come to earth and die on the cross. There would have been no point in his resurrection, because there was no penalty of sin to overcome. I really don’t know how anyone who believes in universalism can actually be called a Christian.
For those who teach that all religions reach to heaven, here are some verses:
John 14:6 “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. NO ONE comes the Father except THROUGH me.” (Emphasis added)
Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
I can’t put it more plainly here. There are two paths that can be taken. What’s more is that Jesus clearly states more people are going to hell than heaven. This is totally contrary to the Universalists’ teachings but there is no getting around God’s Word. This is clearly what the passage says.
Of course, God is love and it is difficult for many to believe that God would punish people instead of forgiving them. It is especially difficult to fathom a God who would punish someone who has a deep religious belief but simply believes the wrong thing. The Bible contains many, MANY instances of just this thing however.
In Genesis alone, God judges Adam and Eve and throws them out of the Garden of Eden. He does not later forgive and forget and let them back in. God judges sin in Noah’s flood, and Sodom and Gomorrah. How many people are killed in just those two instances? Does God then welcome these people with open arms into heaven? Is everyone else partying in heaven while Noah is stuck in a boat with a bunch of stinking animals?
Egypt is a very religious nation. There are numerous gods in Egypt at the time of Moses. But for some reason, God strikes down the first born of all other misled but still highly religious people. As Joshua leads the people into the Promised Land, he is ordered to destroy many towns along the way. These towns of devout people are massacred on many accounts. Is this under the instruction of a loving God who accepts all faiths into heaven as long as they are devout?
Centuries later, God personally sends the angel of the Lord to strike 185,000 Assyrians in 2 Kings 20:35. Was it God’s love, or his forgiveness, that wanted these 185,000 men with him in heaven sooner?
Of course these are all Old Testament references, and God was a vengeful God then. Once Jesus came however, God is nothing but love and forgiveness, right? Of course, God doesn’t change, so this isn’t it. As Malachi 3:6 states, “I the Lord do not change. So you, O Israel descendents of Jacob are not destroyed.”
God was loving and forgiving in the Old Testament, and he is likewise vengeful in the New Testament. Ananias and Saphira are struck dead for lying. The book of Revelation is full of judgment. In the first three chapters, containing the seven letters to the churches, there is even condemnation.
God is loving, and God is forgiving. Make no mistake about this. He desires all to be saved. It is for these very reasons that he sent his son into the world. It is only through belief that Jesus died and rose to take the penalty for our sins that we might go to heaven. This is the love and the forgiveness of God. Any church that does not teach this is off the mark. Anyone who teaches that there is no hell or no judgment for the wicked or worse – that everyone who has a devout but possibly misled belief – is in serious danger.
Next Section – Hell is Eternal Torment