Do Good People Go To Heaven? (Part 2, Conclusion)
Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'...And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'
Matthew 25:34-36, 40 (NKJV)
My mother and My brothers are these who hear the Word of God and do it.
Luke 8:21 (NKJV)
'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,' and 'your neighbor as yourself.' And He said to him, 'You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.'
Luke 10:27-28 (NKJV)
Clearly our actions are important. God is an action God, and He expects us to be action people. 'Did it,' 'do it,' and 'do this' are the golden tickets buried in today's key scriptures.
These words of Jesus do not mention belief upon His Name as the door to salvation, but a 'do it' life of love toward God and people--especially 'the least' of them. 'Do this and you will live' (Luke 10:28).
I believe 'No one comes to the Father except through Me' (John 14:6), which is to say Jesus. Therefore, entering Heaven through Jesus is non-negotiable. But the Gospel does not say when this life and death meeting must occur. In fact, it highlights an 11th hour reward in the Parable of the Vineyard Workers (see Matthew 20:1-16), and last-minute invitations in the Parable of the Wedding Banquet (see Matthew 22:1-14).
Jesus also says 'Many who are first will be last, and the last first' (Mark 10:31; Matthew 19:30, 20:16; Luke 13:30). Who could He mean but last-minute believers? And don't forget His death's door promise to the sinner on the cross in Luke 23:43.
Today's references clearly illustrate God's desire to see our love in action. Given that standard, what saved the sinner on the cross? We cannot know his past, but he publicly defended Jesus, confessed his sins, and asked for God's mercy.
Therefore, I offer fellow believers my faithful opinion: Yes, 'good people' (earth talk: sinners who do good works for God) can go to Heaven, even in deathbed meetings with our Savior--through His grace and perfect mercy.
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Do Good People Go To Heaven? series.