Ask an Eastern Orthodox Christian: Do All Christians Go to Heaven?
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Commentary by Nicholas Damascus
To address this question, we need to ask, what does it mean to be a Christian? Your question presumes that becoming a Christian pre-qualifies you to stroll through those pearly gates of Heaven.
Some say that all one has to do to become a Christian is just declare that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior, hang out and associate with others that declare themselves Christians and go to a Christian church on somewhat of an occasional basis.
These premises might be somewhat adequate in one’s journey; however, they may not score enough points to open those gates. It is not likely that one becomes a Christian just by a declaration or association. It actually involves evidence of the fruit of the Spirit to be apparent in one’s behavior and attitude. Put another way, would there be enough evidence to convict you of becoming a Christian?
The book of James 2:17 states, “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works [of the Spirit], is dead.” To be clear, I am not talking about works of the Law of the Old Testament where one attempted to satisfy certain conditions to earn their way into Heaven.
True Faith Produces Spiritual Fruit
James points out that if one truly believes, their faith would naturally reflect and produce the spiritual works of love, humility, joy, peace, kindness, patience, etc. (Galatians 5:22-23). This fruit of the Holy Spirit of God is the key that unlocks the door to the Kingdom of Heaven.
Christ shows the way to acquire these virtues when He says, “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:15). For it is repentance that rids our heart of the sinful passions of pride, greed, jealousy, envy, anger, lust, covetousness, etc., which then provides an environment to acquire the presence of the Holy Spirit of God and thus the stairway to Heaven.
In 1 John 4:8, John points out, “He who does not love does not know God, for God is Love.”
And so, if one does not become love, Christ will say to them, “Go away, I never knew you,” as is evidenced in the Final Judgement concerning the goats and the sheep (Matthew 25:46).
Ask an Eastern Orthodox Christian
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As an infant, I was baptized as an Eastern Orthodox Christian. However, I would say that becoming a Christian is a work in progress, and I often wonder would there be enough evidence to convict me of becoming a Christian. The Orthodox Church is the ancient Church that Christ and the Apostles established. It is not a religion but rather a way of life. It is not about rules and regulations but rather guide posts to make choices to transition to what we were designed to become. Becoming Orthodox is not a conversion but more so a transformation of self. It’s not about being right: it is about “right being.” In John 14:6, Christ says I am the Way (to love and serve one another), the Truth (there is only one reality), and the Life (that life source is love). I invite you to submit any topics or questions to “Ask An Eastern Orthodox Christian” on the website. Join me in finding our way back home to the original teachings of the Church. When you change the way you look at things, things change the way they look.
Oh Nicolas, your consciousness will cease to exist when you die, pearly gates in the sky are just fairytalesl.
Is this first hand experince or mere speculation on your part. I would speculate that what you are postulatiing cannot be answered by mere mortals