My boyfriend and I have gotten into many discussions. He’s mentioned “I don’t get it. I don’t not believe it him, but I can’t say I’m a whole hearted believer. Who’s to say I won’t go to heaven if it’s real? I’m a good person. Why do murderers who find Jesus only because they are imprisoned get to go to heaven, yet I’m sent to hell for simply not being 100% sure?”. He’s also mentioned “what if my perfect world is different from yours? Is heaven one solid thing, or will I have a perfect after life and you’ll have a different but still perfect heaven?”. He’s raised many questions and I think they’re good topics to talk about, since I have no clue.

  • you will get different answers depending on the denomination you ask. Which denomination POV would you like an answer from?
    – depperm
    Apr 13 '21 at 12:13
  • 2
    It depends on whether your own idea of a 'good' person is the same as God's estimation of what a 'good' person is. Since heaven is His dwelling place and since He has the keys, then it is His estimation that matters. Please see the Tour and the Help as to the purpose and the functioning of the site. Welcome to SE-C.
    – Nigel J
    Apr 13 '21 at 13:15

I'm going to ignore the very wishy-washy "don't not believe" bit for a moment to just address "Can people who don’t believe [...] still make it into heaven if they’re a good person?". And the answer to that is:


No one is a "good person". No one (Romans 3:10-12). "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). You will not gain Heaven through works: "no one comes to the Father except through [Jesus]" (John 14:6).

I realize there are probably some folks that consider themselves Christian out there that will disagree, but IMO, the Bible is pretty clear on this subject. We are saved by grace alone.

All have sinned. All are born sinful, and are incapable of saving themselves... and yet, Christ died for all sin, no matter how heinous, and this is a free gift.

If you stop and think about it, this is also an excellent logical argument for Christianity being true. Christianity is, as far as I know, the only religion in which you can do absolutely nothing to "earn" salvation, and in which salvation has already been earned for you, and by God himself! This is contrary to Man's logic, which is why in every religion created by Man, one must do something to be saved. That makes sense to us, but "the word of the cross is folly to [unbelievers]" (1 Corinthians 1:18).

I might also add that those who believe in Sola Gratia consider it fundamental to Christian doctrine. Why? If you think about it, to deny Sola Gratia is to deny Christ. In order to say that "being good" is necessary for salvation, you must say either that Christ's death was insufficient, which is to lessen God, or worse, unnecessary. The theme of the entire scripture is that Christ, both true Man and true God, came not merely to be a good example, but to bring Salvation. If, therefore, you deny that Christ's death was necessary, you might want to seriously consider why you call yourself Christian. If you deny that it was sufficient, you call Him a liar, because on the cross he tells us "it is finished" (John 19:30; another possible translation is "it is accomplished"). Not "I've done my part, now it's up to you". Christ Himself tells us clearly that his death is sufficient.

Moreover, why in Heaven would you want to believe in anything else? If you believe you must do something to "earn" Salvation, how can you ever know that you have done so? What a horrifying thought! Thanks be to God that we need do no such thing!

To more directly address some of the points you raise:

I’m a good person.

You are not a good person. (I'm not a good person. Your pastor is not a good person. No one is a good person.) You are a sinner in need of Christ's forgiveness, and thanks be to God that he forgives you!

I don’t not believe it him, but I can’t say I’m a whole-hearted believer. I’m sent to hell for simply not being 100% sure?

Be careful here, because this may be verging into works righteousness... and thank God for that! If salvation were dependent on our having absolute faith, I'm pretty sure we'd all be doomed. "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24)

I guess this is what you mean by "don't not believe". Your boyfriend might be more Christian than he realizes. How does one not obtain Grace? Well, one can obviously not know it is available (here we could get sidetracked into a whole other debate of the eternal fate of those that never heard of Christ), or one can reject the gift. Feeling uncertain is natural; I believe there are very few, if an, Christians who have not felt doubt on at least some occasions. For most, it is a constant struggle, but take comfort knowing that salvation is a gift that does not depend on anything you can do. On your own, you cannot even accept this gift, but it is the Spirit working through you which calls us to faith. Therefore, do not despair, neither let your heart be troubled, when the adversary and your own fallen nature causes you to doubt. Instead, I would commend you and your boyfriend to remain in the Church and in the Word. Surround yourselves with others that you may know God's love and know that you are not alone in your struggles.

You also had some interesting thoughts on the nature of heaven that aren't really on topic. I would encourage you to ask a separate question!

  • While I agree with the gist of your answer, the phrase <whomever> is not a good person is flawed. Being a sinner does not mean one isn't good, it means you aren't perfect and God is perfect and requires perfection, hence forgiveness and grace
    – depperm
    Apr 13 '21 at 13:47
  • @depperm, I am using "good" here in the Biblical sense (e.g. Genesis 1 and elsewhere), i.e. God's standard of "goodness" (which is synonymous with "perfect"). By that standard, the Bible clearly teaches that what I said is correct, and even your comment agrees. Since we are talking about obtaining Heaven by being "good", God's standard (as noted by Nigel J in a comment on the question) is the one that matters. Accordingly, I stand by what I said.
    – Matthew
    Apr 13 '21 at 14:19
  • I don't believe the OP's definition/use of good was the same as yours. So the OP and future readers don't get confused, I might edit to be clearer that your use of good differs
    – depperm
    Apr 13 '21 at 14:24
  • @depperm, it probably wasn't. However, "make it into heaven if they’re a good person" is implicitly trying to equate a human definition with God's definition. My use of "good" in the sense the OP wants is deliberate. Put differently, whether one is "good" by some human definition is irrelevant in terms of Salvation. No benefit will come from using the word in that sense, and accordingly, I have no qualms discouraging such usage by whatever means.
    – Matthew
    Apr 13 '21 at 14:37
  • I dissagree with this answer...it is fundamentally flawed. Jesus himself talked about entering the kingdom of heaven in Matthew 25...(I paraphrase part of the chapter) "some saying lord lord I did all these wonderful things in your name, the lord then replying who are you, I don't know you." He then talked of those who said, "lord I didn't know you, and Jesus replying, in as much as you did it to the least of these my brethren, you did it to me!" Read all of Matthew 25. You will find the answer to this question is yes but its not as simple as the O.P offers.
    – Adam
    Apr 13 '21 at 21:25

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