Why Can't a Good Person Who Doesn't Accept Jesus Go To Heaven?

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Why Can't a Good Person Who Doesn't Accept Jesus Go To Heaven?

Postby ArcticFox » Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:45 pm

We Christians of all denominations hear that question a LOT when confronted with doctrines that require a certain standard within Christianity.

"Well, my friend is a good person but isn't a Christian. Why shouldn't they get to go to Heaven?"

The answer is simple. Because without the Gospel there is no universal definition of a "good person." Take 10 different people and ask them to define a good person. You'll get 10 different answers. Sure, there are some universal elements like "A good person doesn't kill, steal or rape." Okay, not much meat there. Let's talk about the variances.

When would a good person find it acceptable to lie?
When would a good person find it acceptable to sleep with someone?
How much money does a good person donate to charity?
Under what conditions would a good person be justified in killing?
Does a good person get an abortion?
What political issues does a good person support?
Who should a good person vote for?

Ask 10 different people that set of questions and you'll get 10 different answers I guarantee it. And once you have those 10 answers, who gets to judge which among them goes where in the afterlife? And once you've decided that, ask yourself what makes your perspective wise enough to make that call? And, if you're a wise enough person to realize that it takes godlike wisdom to judge, then you know we have to leave it to God to do just that. He's given us the standard.
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Re: Why Can't a Good Person Who Doesn't Accept Jesus Go To Heaven?

Postby ccgr » Sun Jan 13, 2019 6:10 pm

No one will argue against God's judgement in the end. The question is, are you ready for it? :)

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Re: Why Can't a Good Person Who Doesn't Accept Jesus Go To Heaven?

Postby J.K. Riki » Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:44 pm

Personally - heretically hence why I do not teach it to others - I think we as humans get really caught up on the word Jesus in this instance. I think since we are all bad, we all need what Jesus has done: gone in our place in an act of mercy and grace. However I do not expect Heaven to be password-protected as some do, where one must utter verbally the name of Jesus or they are denied entry. I think it is/will be far deeper than that and beyond what we currently fully comprehend. This is a reason why I think it is the accepting of the offered grace that is the deal-breaker far more than some specific and very human thing, like a word or phrase. Some use Jesus and Grace interchangeably, but others do not, and this leads to a great deal of confusion.

And of course, I could be utterly wrong, as I likely am about a great number of things.

In the end, it is like ccgr says: No one will argue with God's judgment. We won't be able to, because to argue with pure unfiltered truth is impossible, outside of insanity and delusion. I put it in His hands, where it rightly belongs, and I will see when I see. He has proven trustworthy and I will trust Him with this. I sincerely believe, as it says, He is unwilling that any should perish. That does not negate Hell for those who desire it, but it shows me the heart of God that allows me to give Him my full trust in this matter.

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Re: Why Can't a Good Person Who Doesn't Accept Jesus Go To Heaven?

Postby ArcticFox » Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:52 pm

Personally - heretically hence why I do not teach it to others - I think we as humans get really caught up on the word Jesus in this instance. I think since we are all bad, we all need what Jesus has done: gone in our place in an act of mercy and grace. However I do not expect Heaven to be password-protected as some do, where one must utter verbally the name of Jesus or they are denied entry. I think it is/will be far deeper than that and beyond what we currently fully comprehend. This is a reason why I think it is the accepting of the offered grace that is the deal-breaker far more than some specific and very human thing, like a word or phrase. Some use Jesus and Grace interchangeably, but others do not, and this leads to a great deal of confusion.
I see where you're coming from though (shocker) I see it differently. :wink:

Vocalizing our commitment to Jesus is critical, in my view, because we're judged by what we say and do, not by what we think. (Thankfully. Otherwise I'd really be screwed.) I'm not talking about earning salvation... That we can't do... But by being baptized openly and publicly, Jesus showed us that the forms and rituals matter, and that we need to be on the same page. It's not like He needed baptism... He had no sins to cleanse. Nevertheless the message I took from that was, if He wasn't too good to be baptized, who am I to refuse to do it too?

To tie that in with the subject of the thread... This kind of stuff often seems arbitrary, maybe unnecessary, and maybe sometimes it isn't obvious what the point is or why we should bother, but ultimately God has given us His commandments and His example, and it's up to us to be humble enough to follow and accept His standard.
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Re: Why Can't a Good Person Who Doesn't Accept Jesus Go To Heaven?

Postby J.K. Riki » Wed Jan 16, 2019 1:33 pm

because we're judged by what we say and do, not by what we think.
I would say we are judged by what we say, do, AND think. I believe Scripture backs this up quite concretely.

"Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart." - Proverbs 21

“I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” - Jeremiah

"But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”" - 1 Samuel

"Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life." - Proverbs 4

And of course one of the most convicting, "“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to desire her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." - Matthew 5

These are a few examples; more research exposes other verses in a similar vein not pasted here. Truly truly I say to you, if today is the day to start sweeping up the rooms of your mind (heart) alongside your words and deeds, it is a good day to begin. God looks at it all. :)

EDIT: And yes, we are screwed, as you say. That is quite the point, isn't it? We are screwed, and we must accept it to be true, then ask forgiveness, then do better.

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Re: Why Can't a Good Person Who Doesn't Accept Jesus Go To Heaven?

Postby ArcticFox » Wed Jan 16, 2019 2:34 pm

because we're judged by what we say and do, not by what we think.
I would say we are judged by what we say, do, AND think. I believe Scripture backs this up quite concretely.

"Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart." - Proverbs 21

“I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” - Jeremiah

"But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”" - 1 Samuel

"Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life." - Proverbs 4

And of course one of the most convicting, "“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to desire her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." - Matthew 5

These are a few examples; more research exposes other verses in a similar vein not pasted here. Truly truly I say to you, if today is the day to start sweeping up the rooms of your mind (heart) alongside your words and deeds, it is a good day to begin. God looks at it all. :)

EDIT: And yes, we are screwed, as you say. That is quite the point, isn't it? We are screwed, and we must accept it to be true, then ask forgiveness, then do better.
I think this may be one we see differently. Here's what I mean:

Does God look into our heart? Of course. The verses you provided tell us that. The thing is, I believe He does so because we're supposed to do good things (like charity, being honest, etc.) for the right reasons. Anyone can pretend to be sincere and generous, but we can't tell whether they're being genuine or just going through the motions. God CAN tell, and He will. Anybody can physically go and get Baptized, but if you're not sincere in your conversion then He will know.

When I say we aren't judged by our thoughts, I mean that if I get angry at somebody while I'm driving down the road and I fantasize about punching them in the nose, I'm not going to be judged as if I actually, physically got out of my car and walked up and did it. I might cuss and swear in my head while I'm at work but as long as my mouth is shut it's a whole lot better.

Now, you're right to cite the verse in Matthew 5. But the lesson I take from that is our thoughts need to be pure because if we don't control our thoughts, they will eventually lead to action. I think the same applies to punching somebody in the nose on the road. If I indulge in those thoughts habitually, eventually I'll just get up and do it. If I sit around ogling women then that will likely lead to sinful conduct. It's like the tale of the Two Wolves https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_Wolves.

There are two wolves. One is sin, darkness, dispair. The other is hope and virtue. Which wolf wins?
The one you feed.

To have a sinful thought or temptation isn't what condemns you. It's the behavior that can grow from it if you indulge in such thoughts.
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Re: Why Can't a Good Person Who Doesn't Accept Jesus Go To Heaven?

Postby J.K. Riki » Wed Jan 16, 2019 3:27 pm


To have a sinful thought or temptation isn't what condemns you. It's the behavior that can grow from it if you indulge in such thoughts.
It's certainly not that I disagree with you on the whole, only that you put a heavy emphasis on behavior and I simply expand to include thought/intention far more fully alongside. If, using your example above, you consistently engage in the sinful thoughts then I believe it doesn't really matter if you act on them or not. The physicality of the thoughts is less important than the thoughts themselves. (This is obviously different than fleeting moments of reactionary thought, ie. a burst of anger while on the road and someone endangering you. However if every time you are on the road you are angry, then there is a definite difference between the one-time-thing and this reoccurring snapshot of your heart.)

Concrete example, if I sit around daydreaming about women other than my wife, but never act on any of it in any way, I still have a major problem going on. It is not enough to say "Well it's just fantasy, I don't actually have affairs." And in that sense, our thoughts are absolutely something we'll be judged on. I'd even go so far as to say our actions are proof of our thoughts much of the time, and that is the reason they are important. Without the thoughts behind them, the actions mean nothing at all. If we built robots that "did good deeds" 100% of the time, that says nothing to them as sentient beings. And interestingly that's where we come full circle to your very first point of this thread, how "good people doing good things" is not enough. There is more, and the more there is revolve around the heart/mind.

In a very real sense, all we have is the heart/mind. Everything emanates from that. It is what we will take with us when we die, and what will come again with us when we return.

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Re: Why Can't a Good Person Who Doesn't Accept Jesus Go To Heaven?

Postby ArcticFox » Wed Jan 16, 2019 4:20 pm

Concrete example, if I sit around daydreaming about women other than my wife, but never act on any of it in any way, I still have a major problem going on. It is not enough to say "Well it's just fantasy, I don't actually have affairs." And in that sense, our thoughts are absolutely something we'll be judged on.

Yeah, you're not wrong. I think though, this is one of those nuanced things that also brings us back to the original idea, that ultimately that's for God to judge.

I was meeting with my Bishop once, and we were talking about a similar subject. He related a story to me, and I found a reference to that talk here: https://www.lds.org/church/news/you-are ... s?lang=eng
Sister Bednar promised, “Ask the Lord to help you. He is the best person in all of this. He’ll help you.” Sister Bednar shared an analogy that Elder Bednar has used—imagining your minds as a tube filled with grains of sand with a hole at each end. Bad thoughts are represented by black grains and good thoughts, white grains. “If you’ve accumulated a lot of those bad thoughts in your head, they come back and ... haunt you ... at the worst possible time,” Elder Bednar added. “If you will be patient over time and keep putting in white grains of sand, every time you do, you’re popping out one of those dark ones. It won’t happen fast, but ultimately you change the entire content of that container, and it can be filled with pure white sand”
For me, that represents why Jesus tells us to keep our thoughts pure. It's to avoid putting in the bad grains. Now, if we consciously, deliberately put in black grains then yes, that's a sinful decision that we'll be judged on. So in that sense, you're right. My tweak on that is to say that it isn't the thought itself that's the sin, but our conscious choice to indulge in it, knowing that such thoughts will put up a barrier between us and Heavenly Father. The Spirit does not dwell in unclean vessels, and by indulging in those thoughts we're making our minds unclean.

So I think you and I really only disagree on nuance.
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
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Re: Why Can't a Good Person Who Doesn't Accept Jesus Go To Heaven?

Postby J.K. Riki » Thu Jan 17, 2019 3:09 pm

Indeed. Well said.

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Re: Why Can't a Good Person Who Doesn't Accept Jesus Go To Heaven?

Postby ArcticFox » Thu Jan 17, 2019 4:21 pm

Indeed. Well said.
Thanks :)

In any case, I think the TL;DR version of the OP might say something like "Because we don't have an objective definition of what a 'good person' even is. That's what Jesus provides."
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"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
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Re: Why Can't a Good Person Who Doesn't Accept Jesus Go To Heaven?

Postby Beastbot » Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:41 pm

For me, that represents why Jesus tells us to keep our thoughts pure. It's to avoid putting in the bad grains. Now, if we consciously, deliberately put in black grains then yes, that's a sinful decision that we'll be judged on. So in that sense, you're right. My tweak on that is to say that it isn't the thought itself that's the sin, but our conscious choice to indulge in it, knowing that such thoughts will put up a barrier between us and Heavenly Father. The Spirit does not dwell in unclean vessels, and by indulging in those thoughts we're making our minds unclean.
I think I agree with this statement the closest. If a stray thought/temptation were a sin, than Jesus wouldn't have been tempted in the desert, because Jesus didn't sin.
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Re: Why Can't a Good Person Who Doesn't Accept Jesus Go To Heaven?

Postby ArcticFox » Fri Jan 18, 2019 6:51 pm

Great point. Add to that in the Garden of Gethsemane, he comes right out and asks if there's another way... but submitted to Heavenly Father's will. Who knows what went through His mind to ask that?
"He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool."
—Brigham Young

"Don't take refuge in the false security of consensus."
—Christopher Hitchens


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