“Everybody Is Going to Heaven” may be a popular song but it’s also a horrendous lie. God’s Word reveals that everybody is not going to heaven. In fact, very few people are going to heaven if Jesus can be trusted on this subject.
The Lord urged people to “enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matt. 7:13–14).
Tragically, the majority of humanity is on the wrong road that ultimately leads to the wrong destination. From the moment we’re born into this world we are on that road (or “way”) that is heading away from God. It’s the “way” of rebellion against God. As the prophet Isaiah wrote,
“All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way.” (Isa. 53:6)
No one has to do anything to end up in hell when he or she dies. All a person needs to do is continue traveling in the same direction he or she has been traveling since birth.
By contrast, relatively few people find the road that leads to heaven. In fact, to find that “way” a person must do a spiritual U-turn—which is the meaning of the biblical term repent. Repent (metanoia) means “to change one’s mind.” A simple definition of repentance is “a change of mind that leads to a change of direction.”
Only when a person admits that he or she is on the wrong road can he or she discover the right road. He is the only “Way” that leads to eternal life: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).
Notice Jesus said that at the end of the road to hell and the road to heaven is a “gate”—one gate opening to eternal damnation and the other gate opening to eternal salvation. In each case, the gate is called “judgment.” The writer to the Hebrews declares a succinct but sobering truth: “It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Heb. 9:27).
Contrary to what many believe, Christians are not exempt from God’s judgment. At the end of every Christian’s life is also a “gate” or judgment—but it’s a different judgment than the one non-Christians will face. This judgment or evaluation is often referred to as “the judgment seat of Christ.” Paul emphatically declared:
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (2 Cor. 5:10)
This is not a judgment of condemnation leading to hell, like the great white throne judgment. Instead, this is an evaluation leading to commendation by God and rewards that will greatly impact the kind of heaven we’ll experience.
Reflecting upon the reality of heaven reminds us of the reality of God’s judgment at the end of our lives and serves as an incentive to make certain that we’ll experience the judgment that results in God’s rewards rather than His condemnation.
Dr. Robert Jeffress is the best-selling author of 24 books, a nationally and internationally syndicated TV and radio host and the senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, one of the largest and most influential churches in America Pathway to Victory, Dr. Jeffress’ broadcast ministry, airs daily nationwide on more than 900 radio stations and is broadcast live to 195 countries. His latest book, A Place Called Heaven: 10 Surprising Truths About Your Eternal Home, will release September 2017. He is an evangelical advisor to the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.