I think I registered on this forum a few weeks ago, or one very similar, but couldn't find any trace of my registration so have re-registered. I hope that is ok? My intention isn't to intentionally offend anyone but to try to understand, 'why the you must be saved or go to hell' version of Christianity is accepted by some Christians, not all of course.
This is my story and I apologise if I have told it before on this forum
When I was a child we attended a Pentecostal church (Elim) where the hell-fire sermons scared me into having nightmares most nights! This wasn't helped by a sadistic 'born again' grandmother who got great pleasure out of telling me from the age of two the tortures that awaited a naughty little girl like me! That ghastly woman had beaten religion into her own six kids! My mother didn't help by telling me at the age of six, if Jesus came that night I would be left alone at home all by myself. I held out until I was 11 before getting 'saved'. For some of my teenage years I was quite devout, even though I never once had any feeling there was an entity outside of myself. By the time I married and moved to the UK when I was 19, the doubts were too overwhelming and I lost my faith. My husband who was also a 'born again' had studied theology and science for his first degree had also lost his faith too and is now a convinced atheist. I am an agnostic as I believe it is possible that a deity could exist, but I have doubts that if it does it is in communication with humans.
When our own children came along we let them decide for themselves about matters of religion. Our girls consider themselves Christians, but not Biblical literalists. Our eldest daughter is a very well thought of Anglican priest. They respect our views on matters of faith, as we respect theirs.
I cannot understand how it is possible to be comfortable believing that unless one gets 'saved' one would go to hell for all eternity. The idea that in theory someone as evil as Hitler could make a deathbed conversion and be waved through the pearly gates, but a good atheist who has spent their life helping others is sent to hell, makes absolutely no sense to me at all.
So there you have it.
It doesn't makes sense does it? I understand. One thing you need to keep in mind is that God doesn't judge us on the basis of how good or evil we are. This is because none of us, despite our behavior are "good" before God. God has only one standard of goodness that is absolute perfection. So in order to make it into heaven based on being good, we have meet God's standard of goodness. He doesn't have a sliding scale with reference to what is good or not.
God has a completely different standard by which we are judged. We go to heaven, not on the basis of being good, but on the basis of being "righteous." That means that we go to heaven based on the fact that we have been declared to be in right standing with God. In the eyes of God, all of us are sinners. The old hymn says, "Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me..." Before God all of mankind are wretches, sinners, people who deserve His contempt, but God in His mercy, because He loves us made a way for us to come to Him and be in a loving relationship with Him. But it will never happen so long as we strive to enter heaven on the basis of our own merits.
The obvious question that follows is, "how can one attain right standing with God without being good? The answer is that Jesus Christ, God's Son lived a righteous and sinless life. He was God in the flesh and He fulfilled God's righteousness in His own life and He died on the cross to pay for our sin. Our sin was imputed or credited to Jesus and He bore the penalty (death) for our sins, on our behalf.
The result of that finished work on the cross was that Jesus was raised from the dead which is God the Father's testimony that He was satisfied with Jesus' sacrifice and on the basis of Jesus' obedience, on the basis of His sacrifice and His righteous, sinless life, all who accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior receive the righteousness of Jesus imputed or credited to them. Jesus took our sin and has given us His righteousness.
We are placed in right standing with God based not on anything we have done, no matter how good our deeds have been, but solely on the finished work of Christ. That is why the vilest sinner in the world who puts his faith in Jesus can be put in right standing with God. Jesus already paid for that man's sins.
That is the way into heaven and that is the path we must all choose if we want to be in relationship with the Lord. He alone as the sovereign authority to decide who belongs in heaven and it is His desire that all men repent. The Bible says that it is not God's will that any should perish, but that all men would come to repentance.
So the question facing you is what you will do with this. Will you surrender your life to Jesus Christ and accept Him as your personal Lord and Savior?