What will happen to those people that never heard the gospel? Do you have any friends or family that died before they heard it? Did you know that after they die, they actually get a second chance to hear the gospel and can still go to heaven?
I was utterly shocked when I heard these words coming from someone that claimed to be spreading the good news of the bible. How on earth did they get this idea that once we're dead we can still get another chance to accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour?
They even quoted scripture to support their statements. It was so sad to see how deeply invested they were in such a deception and false hope.
Beware of false teachings
There is so much chaos, corruption and confusion in this world that sometimes it can be quite difficult to know what the truth is. With so many differing views and teachings on life and death, how can anyone come to know the one and only truth?
As Christians, how do we distinguish between a lie and the truth? Some of the many false teachers cleverly use and twist scripture to support their lies. Satan himself used scripture to tempt Jesus into believing a lie. However, Jesus (who was filled with the Holy Spirit) overcame the temptation and used the very word of God to conquer the lies [Matthew 4 verse 1 to 10].
I believe the answer is found in the word of God. The bible warns us on multiple occasions to beware of false prophets and teachings [Matthew 7 verse 15 to 20; 2 Timothy 4 verse 3 to 4; 1 John 4 verse 1 to 6]. We need to daily meditate on the word of God and ask the Holy Spirit to help us discern what is truly from God and what isn't. Only then will we be able discern the truth from a lie.
Living on bread alone
In Luke 16 verses 19 to 31, Jesus teaches us about the reality of heaven and hell through the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. The rich man was so overly concerned with his life of luxury (earthly or material things) that he failed to recognise the importance of the eternal (e.g. adhering to the word of God).
He never showed any love or compassion to a poor man Lazarus that lay at the rich man's gate. Lazarus died and went to heaven, but when the rich man died he went to a place of torment (hell). In agony, the rich man cried out to Abraham (who had Lazarus by his side) in heaven to try and get some relief.
But unfortunately there was nothing Abraham could do. No one could cross over from the place of torment into heaven. Neither could anyone cross over from heaven into hell. That was it for the rich man. He would spend eternity in torment.
The opportunity is only in this lifetime
I'm thankful that God is merciful, loving, patient and kind. He gives us plenty of opportunities to accept and believe that he loves us so much that he would give his only son Christ Jesus to die on our behalf so we can have an eternal life with Him. But these chances are only available while we are yet alive.
The decision to accept Jesus Christ has to be made before we go to the grave. Once we die, it's too late! The choices we make while we're here on earth will affect where we spend eternity – either in heaven or hell.
I can already hear those objections coming about babies and children that die in infancy. What about those people that haven't heard the gospel? Do they automatically go to hell?
The truth is I don't have all the answers. I don't know everything that happens on this earth. All I can confidently say is that God is judge and I trust that God alone knows exactly how to deal with those cases. He is a just and fair God. I'm not the one sitting on the judgement seat and it isn't up to me to decide, but it is up to God.
Maybe the more important question we need to ask ourselves is this: if I heard the true gospel today, what would I do about it? Would I receive it or reject it?
Hope in Jesus Christ
Let us not be fooled. This is a matter of life and death. There are many false teachings that are only leading people to hell. Some may ask - how will someone that has never really heard the true gospel ever know that they are being fed lies? Is it ever possible for them to come out of such a situation and come to know the truth?
I strongly believe that if we genuinely and earnestly seek God, He (the one and only true God) will reveal himself to us [Jeremiah 29 verse 13]. I've even heard incredible testimonies from people that were deeply involved in the occult and Satan worship that confessed their sin and completely turned their lives over to Christ.
My prayer and hope is that as we earnestly seek to know the truth, that we will find it and come to wholeheartedly accept and believe it. It is only by faith in Jesus Christ that I came to experience true love, joy, peace and the gift of eternal life.
1 John 5 verse 11 to 12 states: And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the son has life; whoever does not have God's Son does not have life.
Kandima Awendila was born in Mozambique and lives and works as an IT Service Desk Engineer on the Gold Coast.'Kandi Awendila's archive of articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/kandima-awendila.html