Some people seem not to be comfortable with your theology. There is this particular video that went viral online that you allegedly said a Christian who dies while fornicating would still make it to heaven. What exactly is your position on Christian life and eternal life? Do you believe in the once saved always-saved doctrine?
I don’t believe in the once saved, forever saved doctrine. I believe Christians can lose their salvation because the bible teaches us that if someone who have once been enlightened, having tasted of the heavenly gift, and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit returns to what he has been set freed from, he can fall away.
So, I don’t believe in the doctrine of once saved, always saved. However, I know the video you are referring to about someone sinning. The Nigerians who saw the video for some reasons decided just to take out the part of fornication but that is not the central message.
The centrality of the message is that before we die, every one of us will still have one sin or the other or weakness that we are struggling with or ones we haven’t perfected. Nobody will ever become perfect before he or she dies.
So does that mean anybody who dies without overcoming all his weakness is going to hell? No of course. We won’t go to hell thanks to the death, resurrection and redemption of Jesus especially if we are serving him, in love with him, in personal relationship and intimacy with him. But if somebody has turned away from Christ, by turning his back on the finished work of Christ and backslidden, he is going to hell.
But in that video, I was talking about Christians who are good Christians. Let’s take for example, a pastor or any other person who is a good Christian like Pastor Kumuyi or Pastor Adeboye or people that others know as a good Christian in Nigeria or even you who is reading.
Imagine you’ve been a good Christian all your life but before you went out of your house this morning, your husband or your wife did something that annoyed you and then you got angry. Remember anger is part of the works of the flesh that the bible says those who practice these things will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Or let’s say you were fearful about something but then as you step out of your house, you got into an accident and died. Fear and anger are sins, so that means you just sinned and died. So are you going to hell?
I took my time to think about these kind of detailed scenarios to provide answers to Christians. Unfortunately, our people don’t think, but I’d be answering that question coming from the point of view of a thoughtful person.
The question is, what will happen to such a Christian who is afraid of going to hell since he or she is not perfect? My answer is that you are not going to hell because what takes you to either heaven or hell is your personal relationship with God. At the point of your death, did you have a personal relationship with God? Did you love God with all your heart, your soul and your mind? Are you in fellowship with Him? Are you united with Him? If yes, then you are going to heaven even though you had that anger in the morning or if you did not succeed in reconciling with your wife that offended you because you died unexpectedly.
This question has to be answered because not everybody would know when he or she is going to die. 90% of people who die don’t know they’re going to die at that moment. So what about if they don’t succeed in repenting before they die because we don’t repent every minute. So does that mean you are going to hell? That is exactly what we are discussing.
So the truth is; do you have a personal relationship with God and do you love him with all your heart? Are you following Him? If you have not walked away from faith and you have not gone to consciously live in sin, then you don’t need to worry if you’re going to heaven or not because you cannot lose your salvation just because you’re are not perfect at the moment when you die.
It is not our works or our perfection that takes us to heaven. Even the most-righteous person amongst us, his own righteousness is as a filthy rag. Therefore, it is not our strength or our righteousness that takes us to heaven; it is the righteousness of God. It is the holiness of Christ that guarantees our eternity. It’s either you are in Christ or not. If you are established in Christ then you’d go to heaven because it is Christ’s righteousness that takes you to heaven. You can never be holy enough by your own works and acts. God looks at holiness of Christ and this is what qualifies us for heaven. That is exactly what I’m talking about. This is a lesson God was trying to teach us in the story of the thief that was crucified with Jesus.
Therefore, if this is regarded as false doctrine in Nigeria, then Nigeria doesn’t have any doctrine I’m sorry. This is the real doctrine of our lord Jesus Christ but unfortunately, in Nigeria the pastors have used fear to enslave and captivate our people. They make people to feel it’s their self-righteousness that takes them to heaven. As a result, everybody is living in the fear of going to hell. People are constantly thinking; if I am not righteous at the point of death and if I don’t succeed in repenting, then I might not go to heaven. That is fear mongering, which is putting people under control. It is only to control people.
It is Christ that takes people to heaven. It is his blood, his redemption and our relationship with God that takes us to heaven not our own righteousness on day to day living. We are living a righteous life to glorify God because we want to reflect Him, because we want to bring his kingdom to earth. This is why we are trying our best to live a holy life.
It is good to live a holy life but our holy life is not good enough to take us to heaven. Our self-righteousness is not good enough to make heaven nevertheless, we try our best to live a righteous life so we would be more like Him, glorify Him and shine His light on the earth as it is in heaven.
Heaven is paid for, not by our own righteousness but by the blood of the lamb, by the death and resurrection of our lord Jesus Christ. This is what takes us to heaven and this explains what that video and question is about.