Note: This article contains scripture quotes simply as reference for those who are trying to discuss beliefs with Christian friends or family.
If you walk a non Christian path, sooner or later someone will try to tell you that no matter how good a person you are, you can still be sent to hell. To most, this just sounds absurd! Even many Christians who teach this doctrine have trouble understanding or explaining it.
Continue reading Will Good People Be Punished?
In an effort to bridge the gap of misunderstanding in this area, I’ve tried to pinpoint the passages that this doctrine is based on. Each reference will be followed by the understanding and/or interpretations that the Divine has given me. I realize that some of you may be tired of hearing the Bible quoted, but I know of no other way to communicate this message to those of the Christian faith. So I asked that you bear with me, and focus on the message. The article offers some thought provoking questions, and specific information that may help you respond to those in your life who truly believe the Divine is going to punish “good” people. You are encouraged to print and share this information with others, if this is an area that causes division between you and your friends or family members.
Before I begin, I’d like to clarify that I am one of those who believe that the Bible (in it’s original form) was inspired by the Divine. However, unlike some, I understand and accept that it has gone through many alterations over the years. In exploring the original Greek and Hebrew wording, I have seen much evidence that confirms this. Thus I do not hold today’s Christians at fault for believing what they do. Their doctrine is based on what has been handed down to them, and most trust that it is accurate. It’s also my own personal belief, that when passages *appear* to conflict or contradict each other, it is because we are misinterpreting some part of the message. When it is properly interpreted, there should be no conflicts. With that said, I will now share the understanding that the Divine has given me regarding this subject. :o)
To start with, I have found NO passage in the entire Bible that actually says a *good* person can be sent to hell. On the contrary, verse after verse indicates ALL will be judged and rewarded “according to their works.” These passages clearly state that goodness is rewarded… not punished in hell. So where does that doctrine come from? One explanation, is that salvation and rewards are being confused, and rolled into one subject… when they are actually two separate issues.
Everlasting life, according to the scriptures, is a gift. It cannot be earned… by ANYONE… no matter what religion they belong to. Christians have no better chance of *earning* their way to heaven than anyone else. None of us are perfect. Thus, I tend to understand and accept the doctrine that good works does not *earn* you eternal life or a place in heaven. That’s a free gift! The real issue is whether this gift is given to everyone, or just a selected few. According to scripture, it is only given to those who belong to God. So… determining who the Divine’s children really are, is the real issue… and in my humble opinion, this is where good works come in.
The scriptures are clear that a good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. (Mt 7:18, Lk 6:43) Since the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, etc., (Ga 5:22) isn’t it logical to assume that when an individual’s life is full of the good fruit, that this person must be living according to Divine will? Jesus himself indicated that one is known by their fruit, or works. (Mt 7:16 & 12:33, Lk 6:44) He also said “By this all shall know that you are my disciples… IF YOU LOVE ONE ANOTHER.” (Jo 13:35) Jesus simply put the Divine Law in it’s simplest form!