Before Christ, people were saved by believing in God's promise of the Messiah who was to come, as we are saved by believing in the Messiah who has come.
Hebrews 11:39-40 (ESV)
And all these [Old Testament saints], though commended through their
faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided
something better for us, that apart from ...
1. What you "are" is irrelevant
Let us first distinguish between being a member of a class - in this case homosexuals - and engaging in any sort of behavior. For many people, being a member of the class "homosexual" means having feelings in one direction or another. In no event would a "temptation" towards a certain behavior be taken as exclusion.
At the heart of this question (and many similar ones) is another question: Is God fair?
If God requires acknowledgments of truths that people haven't had a chance to hear in order to be saved, then of course He is not fair.
If we begin with the assumption that God will never act unjustly or unfairly though, then we can assume that He will make Divine ...
This question is actually pretty cut and dry. At the core the main thing you ask is "Can I go to heaven even rejecting Christian belief by substituting some set of actions?"
No. No amount of works of any kind will get you into heaven. There is no substitute for faith.
Hebrews 11:6 (ESV)
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever ...
God knows each one of us as a person, not just part of a family. This is clear even in the Old Testament:
Ezekiel 33:20 (ESV)
Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not just.' O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways."
Looking at the Gospel in the New Testament, we see that again each of us is an individual to God:
The answer from aceinthehole is on the right track, but here is the key.
Hebrews 10:4 (NIV)
It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
@Caleb, you are definitely onto something, because this verse clearly tells us that nobody in the old testament was actually saved through the law.
Hebrews 10:1 (NIV)
The law is ...
YES, there are!
The footnote in my NLT Bible for Acts 11:1 has a list of Old Testament verses that say that salvation is for all people, not just the Jews. Below, I've reproduced the list and for two of them, I've directly quoted them because they're the clearest and most direct with regards to this topic.
As Nicky Gumbel says on the Alpha course, "If you were born in a McDonalds, would that make you a hamburger?"
Furthermore, the Bible makes clear that we are all judged on our own standing with Jesus, e.g. Acts 2:21: "... everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."
I don't wish to sound flippant but you don't convert anyone. God does. Having said that, our responsibility is:
To explain the hope we have, and be ready to do this, with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3v15
Then we can explain the theology, if people want to know. It comes down to this:
God is perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4, Matthew 5:48). That's His standard ...
The New Testament frequently states that Jesus rose from the dead. This presumes that, yes, Jesus was fully dead at some point. Before Jesus, of course there wasn't a heaven, just a place of the dead referred to "Hades" or "hell" (as you acknowledge). As Jesus had died, he went there. Jesus preached the Gospel to the dead (1 Peter 4:6) and those that were ...
Short Answer, YES; Long Answer, YES YES
First we need to define what repentance is.
The word in Greek is Metanoeo which means: To change ones mind. The word repent in Hebrew is Nacham which means to: to be sorry, be moved to pity, have compassion.
Repentance is a state of mind, of sorrow over your actions.
Now that we understand the word's definition we ...
The Catholic Church is very explicit in its teachings that "all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church" (CCC 846). The only way to enter the Church and become part of the Body of Christ is through baptism. Thus, baptism is necessary for salvation (CCC 1257).
This is not meant to be interpreted as only Catholics can attain salvation. ...
No. See 1 Peter 3 and 4. Starting from the death of Jesus, the Gospel has been preached to the dead as well as the living.
1 Peter 4:6
For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
Bringing salvation to the dead who had passed ...
This isn't a question that can be resolved indisputably here, as there are different views amont Christians about this. These views are generally in a range of:
Pelagianism - the idea that a man's salvation is an act of his free will only.
Synergysm - the idea that a man needs grace, but has to freely cooperate with it.
Irresistible grace - that grace saves ...
The general belief, that I think applies to most Christians, is that Jesus' death and resurrection opens the gates of heaven, saving us from sin in general, but that we must still choose to actually enter through the gate -- to repent of our individual sins and desire to sin no more.
To put it another way, Jesus' death makes repentance and forgiveness ...
I second the answer of @mason-wheeler that Acts 2:37-38 represents the basic Christian assumption that repentance and baptism, and indeed the entire Christian life that is "the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and breaking of bread, and prayers," is critical to salvation, and pursuit of salvation outside this life is perilous. Furthermore, resisting a ...
From Catholic Answers article Does "no salvation outside the Church" include non-Catholic Christians?, non-Catholic Christians are specifically addressed in the Catechism:
The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who
are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic
faith in its entirety or have not ...
An extremely simple argument for this sense is to consider the following two questions:
Q1. Does the epistle of Romans assume and rely on an essentially literal* interpretation of the fall of man (cf. Genesis 1-3)?
Q2. How foundational is the epistle of Romans to a Christian understanding of the gospel?
It may be possible to argue these points to a ...
God is Holy
God is Just
God is Merciful
The combination of these attributes is the answer to your question.
His Holiness demands that He be obeyed, unequivocally.
His justice demands that He deal with disobedience, mercilessly.
His mercy demands that He forgive, lovingly.
How does one strike a balance in a meaningful manner? The answer is that He who knew ...
Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. —Romans 5:18
For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. —Colossians 1:19-20
The Bible is very clear that all atheists and non-believers will be sent to the Lake of Fire after they die. It even goes further than that by specifying a list of people that are not accepted (which covers more than your question!):
Revelations 21:8 (NIV)
But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who ...
No I don't think he was surprised at all. But that doesn't mean he wasn't disappointed. I'm sure he held out a false hope that things might go his way.
Satan is not omnipotent and could not have known exactly what God was planning, but he would have known and been able to understand the prophecies as well or better than men and it was never any secret that ...
Even if we can't pray away someone else's free will or convince God to bend the rules regarding the requirements of salvation, there can still be merit in praying on behalf of others with a slightly different attitude. Perhaps "let them have experiences that will lead them to the truth," or "let their hearts be softened, that they may give heed to the Holy ...
I believe the best way to address your question is to take apart what you've written, and address it piece by piece, looking especially at the assumptions you have made going into your argument. Please understand that while you may not agree with many of the statements I will make here, they do represent a Christian perspective. In particular, I will be ...
Did Jesus actually ever say if you don't believe in me you go to Hell?
Yes, He did say this directly, without mincing words. Bolded in the passage below.
John, Chapter 3 (KJV)
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have
17 For God sent not ...
Actually, it never worked.
Hebrews 10:4 (ESV)
For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
All the OT sacrifices were useless in an of themselves. What they did all along was not actually solve something but point people to the idea that something needed to be solved and the way that had to happen was through sacrifice. All ...
First a disclaimer, I come from the camp that salvation is by faith alone. The answer will be coming from my perspective, since the question seems to be geared toward those who hold this view. It also intentionally goes against the definition of Christianity as accepted for the sake of this community because I think that it's the only way to address the ...
Per Scripture, the only way to heaven is by putting our trust in Christ and accepting His free gift of salvation.
The question you pose is based on a common misunderstanding of the relationship between how "good" we are and whether or not we are "good enough" to get to Heaven. The problem is that not one of us has ever kept the Ten Commandments, much less ...
Romans 3:23 (NIV) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of
No one is righteous. Better is not enough. God demands 100% holiness. No one can achieve that. Therefore, we need the Blood of Jesus Christ. Only in Jesus, can we have salvation.
Romans 5:12 (NIV) Therefore, just as sin
entered the world through one man, and death through sin, ...