Carla from Texas asks, “Does everyone go to Heaven since Jesus died for the sins of the whole world?”
While this idea of all people being saved—a concept theologians have termed universalism—may sound appealing, it is a flawed and heretical interpretation of the Bible.
Essentially, universalists believe that because God is loving and just, and because Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, every person will be saved, whether or not they recognize their need for salvation and place their faith in Jesus. According to universalists, it doesn’t matter what a person believes religiously, because their eternal salvation is secured, whether they live life on earth as a Christian or not.
The misguided beliefs of universalism stem from a rejection of Jesus’ teaching of hell, incorrectly arguing that Christians added the concept of hell long after the Bible was originally written. Furthermore, universalists fail to recognize the balance between God’s love and His justice, choosing instead to focus only on the love of God toward humanity.
It doesn’t require years of biblical scholarship to recognize the flaws in this belief. While they get half of the equation correct—Jesus did die for the sins of the whole world—they do not acknowledge the other side of the coin, that to be saved, a person must accept that gift and believe it.
Just like you can give someone a birthday present, but can’t make them open it or use it, Jesus offers the gift of salvation to all, but the person must accept and willingly receive the gift to be saved.
The apostle Paul gives us the simplest understanding of the response required for salvation when he wrote, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). Public confession and genuine belief are the responses of the believer who takes Jesus’ gift to the world, and brings it personally into their life.
Simply put: apart from belief in the saving work of Jesus Christ, there is no salvation.