I recently heard someone ask if only Christians were going to heaven. They inquired, What about all those Jews and Moslems and Hindus that are trying to live good lives. You mean they re all going to hell? The fact is, it doesn’t matter how good anyone is trying to live their life, they have sinned against God, For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). This means that each one of us needs a Savior. Paul continues saying we are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God has set forth to be a propitiation, through faith, in His blood (Rom. 3:24,25).
Unlike Muhammed, Buddha and others, Jesus was not just a man, but was the Son of the living God (Matt. 16:16). It took God sending His only begotten Son to die for our sins in order for God to remain just and yet forgive the sinner (John 3:16; Rom. 3:26; 5:8; etc.). Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12). It may not be too popular or considered politically correct to say it, but the New Testament clearly teaches that no one has the hope of heaven who is not in Christ, for God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Eph. 1:3).
Sin is the transgression of God’s law (1 John 3:4). Our sin puts us at variance with God, for our sin separates us from Him (Isa. 59:2). Justification demands forgiveness of sin, that which comes by God’s grace, for once sin is committed, no amount of law keeping will forgive that sin. We are, therefore, totally dependent upon God’s grace for salvation (Eph. 2:8). God was under no obligation to save us. In fact, justness demands that the consequence of sin be ours. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses (Eph. 2:4,5), devised a plan whereby we could be saved. Paul contrasts the wages of sin, our spiritual death, with the gift of God, eternal life (Rom. 6:23). Our justification is a gift in that God provides the means for forgiveness by His grace. Neither God nor Christ were coerced, for both the gift and the sacrifice were freely given. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8).
The manifestation of God’s love and grace is seen the giving of His only begotten Son to die for our sins (1 John 4:9; John 3:16). Yet Paul says we are justified by faith (Rom. 5:1). How is it we are justified freely by His grace (Rom. 3:24) and also justified by faith? Paul answers this by saying we have access by faith into this grace (Rom. 5:2). We must realize that grace is God’s part in man’s salvation while faith is man’s part. I realize that many do not believe that man has any part in his own salvation, considering anything that man has to do a work that would nullify God’s grace. But think about it a minute. We know that Christ died one time for all men (Heb. 9:28; 1 John 2:2; etc.). Does that mean that all men will be saved by His sacrificial death? Certainly not. Yet whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). This passage does not say that one is saved by faith only, but that only those that believe in Him shall have everlasting life, for by their faith they have access to God’s grace.
Only those in Christ Jesus our Lord will receive the gift of God eternal life (Rom. 6:23). The only way to get in Christ is to be baptized into Him (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3). Have you been baptized into Christ? If not, you cannot receive God’s gift of eternal life.