QUESTION: For people who don’t believe or are confused about life, does God allow them to enter the kingdom and ask “Do you believe in me now?” Will God allow them to confess their sins and live eternal life or will they go straight to hell?

ANSWER: I am thankful for your good questions and I believe Scripture has clear answers to them. In John 3:3 the Lord Jesus told a religious ruler named Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (NASB). In verse 5 He added these words, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” And in verse 7 He emphasized this truth by saying, “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again’ (NKJV). It is clear from these verses that no one will “see the kingdom” or “enter the kingdom” unless they have been born again. Jesus went on in verses 14-16 to tell him exactly what he needed to do to experience the New Birth, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (NKJV). In a word, one must, by faith, look to Jesus Christ dying on the cross and believe in Him as their Savior. If they do, they will indeed receive eternal life. If they don’t, they will surely perish, which means they will be lost in hell forever.

There are those today who teach that God will give sinners a “second chance” to believe in Jesus Christ after they die. But the scriptures just quoted prove that salvation is only offered to men BEFORE they die. Jesus said in John 8:24, “For if ye don’t believe that I am He, ye shall die in your sins.” To “die in your sins” is to die without your sins being forgiven, which means you will have to bear the judgment that your sins deserve. Hebrews 9:26 confirms this, “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” Because salvation is only offered to men while they live, the Apostle Paul states in 2 Corinthians 6:2, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

In John 3:16 we saw that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” God allowed His beloved Son to be lifted up on Calvary’s cross to pay the penalty for our sins. The prophet Isaiah foretold this in Isaiah 53:5-6, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the LORD hath laid upon him the iniquity of us all.” Do you believe this? Do you believe the Lord Jesus took your place on the cross and suffered the wrath of a sin-hating God for you? If you do believe this, you will rejoice in the truth of 1 Peter 2:24, “Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” The very moment a sinner believes in Jesus Christ as Savior they are BORN AGAIN. This alone will allow them to SEE and to ENTER the kingdom of God.  (188.5)  (DO)