Will Only “Your Bunch” Be Saved?
I received the question that constitutes the title of this article from one of our readers. It is a common question posed by those who deny the exclusive nature of the Christian system.
If someone honestly asks this question, a few friendly nudging questions should quickly provide the answer.
Questions for Personal Reflection
Do you believe that you are a part of the “saved”?
If the answer is “yes,” here is a follow-up question.
Do you believe that those not of that saved group you are a member of are lost?
If you answer “no,” you are a “universalist.” The universalist position is that everyone will be saved ultimately — regardless of what they believe or how they live.
In that case, there is no reason whatsoever for evangelism. Faith, hope, love, righteousness, the Bible, or religion is irrelevant to the universalist.
We’ve addressed this point of view elsewhere; see our article, Will Everyone Go To Heaven?.
On the other hand, if you believe that those outside of your group are lost, you appear to suggest that only “your bunch” will be saved.
The plain logical fact is this: people are either inside your group or outside your group. Could you explain the matter to me if this is not the correct conclusion?
Now that we have disposed of the tone or implication of this question in an ad hominem fashion (i.e., by pressing one to see to the consequences of his own “logic”), we can get to the heart of the question.
Let the Bible itself address the issue. Consider the following propositions.
What Does the Bible Actually Say About Who Will Go To Heaven?
First, Jesus Christ declared that he is the exclusive way to God.
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one comes unto the Father, except by me” (John 14:6).
You can dispute this statement if you wish, but it is stated uncompromisingly there.
Do you believe that the only way to obtain salvation is through Christ? If you deny this, the biblical record is not your standard of authority, and further discussion is useless.
Second, the Scriptures clearly teach that some belong to Christ and others do not. Some are his “sheep,” the saved, while others are “goats,” and thus are lost (Matthew 25:31-46).
Third, no one is required to understand every aspect of Christian teaching. No one does. And no one can be perfectly obedient in all matters. No one ever has.
But to be saved, there is a threshold of understanding about elementary gospel truths that you must possess and a certain level of obedience that you must render before you can belong to Christ.
Didn’t Jesus teach that those who refuse to “understand” will not be able to receive the “healing” (i.e., the salvation) he offers (Matthew 13:15)?
Further, are we not taught that Christ is the author of salvation to those who “obey” him (Hebrews 5:9)? What would be the reverse of that affirmation?
Didn’t the Lord himself say, “He who believes on the Son has eternal life; but he who obeys not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36 – ASV)?
Remember when Jesus declared that those who claim identity with him but fail to “do” (i.e., obey) God’s will are lost (Matthew 7:21-27)?
Do the words of Jesus mean anything?
Fourth, Paul, an inspired apostle, declared that Jesus Christ is “the savior of the body” (Eph. 5:23).
Here’s a simple but profound question. Is there any passage within the framework of Christian doctrine that provides hope to those who are not of that body?
Fifth, the same apostle in the very same epistle taught that there is “one body” (Eph. 4:4; cf. 1 Cor. 12:20).
Does this not imply that if a person is saved, they would have to be in that “one body”?
Sixth, Paul also defined the “one body” as the “church” (Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18, 24). Doesn’t this signify that all the saved would be in “one” church (cf. John 10:16; 11:52)?
Seventh, another fact the apostle taught is that by the Spirit (i.e., through the instrumentation of His instruction via God’s word – Eph. 6:17), we are baptized into the “one body” (1 Cr. 12:13; cf. Gal. 3:26-27). For more on this, see our article, What Does It Mean To Be Born Again?.
Finally, is it not the case that this baptism must conform to the New Testament pattern of doctrine? By this, we mean that baptism should be administered to the appropriate subjects, with the correct mode, and for the specified purpose of the rite to be effective toward salvation (cf. Rom. 6:17; Acts 19:1-5).
Do you think these points answer the somewhat sarcastic (though perhaps genuinely motivated) question that is the title of this article?
Realistically, we do not expect it to satisfy those not sincerely searching for truth—though we will try nonetheless.