The current Pope Francis of the Roman Catholic Church recently made a statement that it was not necessary for a person to believe in God to enter Heaven. Here is an excerpt from the Christian Post:
BY VINCENT FUNARO, CHRISTIAN POST REPORTERSeptember 12, 2013|11:20 am
Pope Francis made a shocking statement in a letter addressed to atheists and agnostics, where he said that they would be able to be forgiven by God and enter into heaven by following their conscience.
The letter, written as a response to editorials from July and August by Eugenio Scalfari, an agnostic and the founder of the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, addressed a question he posed about the Christian God forgiving people who do not believe in him or seek any type of faith.
Scalfari admits that he did not expect the South American Pope to respond “so extensively and so affectionately, with such fraternal spirit.”
The Pope’s response read “the question for those who do not believe in God is to follow their own conscience. Sin, even for a non-believer, is when one goes against one’s conscience. To listen and to follow your conscience means that you understand the difference between good and evil.”
The Pope elaborated by saying that “the mercy of God has no limits” and that even non-believers could partake in it.
The comments by the pontiff failed to impress the Italian Union of Atheists and Agnostics.
An atheist is a person who denies the existence of God, or a supreme being, and this is what the Bible (God’s Word) has to say about those who do not believe in God:
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. (Psalms 14:1)
The Bible also makes it ever so clear that the human heart is deceitful and wicked:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
Many people (if not most people) sincerely believe that they are good people and do the right thing, most of the time. If they “follow their own conscience” does that mean that they are right with God? Of course not. Most people believe that they are basically “good people” and on their way to Heaven. The Bible makes it clear that each and every one of us is a sinner, and if a person truly follows their conscience, they will see their own sin, and their NEED for a Saviour! The Bible tells us that all our own righteousness are nothing but filthy rags in the sight of God!
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Isaiah 64:6)
For the Catholic Pope to say that it was not necessary for a person to believe in God to enter Heaven is spiritual madness. The Bible is emphatically clear as it points all of us to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ! Here is what the Jewish apostle John said about those who reject Jesus Christ:
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (John 3:36)
I do not blame you if you are in a total state of shock after reading that verse, because you probably never heard it before. That type of preaching is frowned upon in this modern day world. The apostle John got right to the point and he told us that the wrath of God is upon those who do not believe on the Son (Jesus Christ)! In other words without faith in Jesus Christ a person already has the wrath of God upon them! Jesus Christ the creator of ALL things spoke the same way when he said this:
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:17-18)
The deciding factor in a person having eternal life and ultimately going to Heaven was whether that same person turned to the Lord for salvation. The Lord never told people to “follow their own conscience” at all. It all had to do with them believing in HIM! The Jewish apostle Peter, whom Rome declares to be their “first Pope” said this:
Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:10-12)
Peter rebuked the people of Israel who killed (crucified) Jesus Christ. He let them know that Jesus Christ was the ONLY way to be saved. Those same people who killed Jesus Christ were probably “following their own conscience” in their own mind, but according to the Word of God they were as lost and Hell-bound as anyone else who rejected Jesus as the only way.
The Jewish apostle Paul probably “followed his own conscience”, as he went about persecuting and killing Christians BUT he was Hell-bound until he got it right with God! (Acts 9:1-24) The Jewish ruler Nicodemus might have “followed his own conscience” but he was LOST, and Jesus Christ told him that he needed to be born again of the Spirit. Nicodemus needed eternal life, and it was only found in Jesus Christ!
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. (John 3:6-7)
Nicodemus had a physical birth (in the flesh), but the Lord told him that he “must be born again” and that would apply to ALL humanity! That would include the richest and the poorest people throughout the world. That would include the famous and the unknown throughout the world. That would also include EVERY atheist throughout the world. The atheist CANNOT enter Heaven without FIRST being JUSTIFIED in the sight of God, and that can ONLY come through the BLOOD of Jesus Christ. In fact it was the Jewish apostle Paul who wrote those words after he repented of his sin and trusted Christ for salvation himself!
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (Romans 5:6-9)
Jesus Christ died for the UNGODLY and that would include me, you and every atheist in the world. Yes, the MERCY of God is available for ALL people including the ATHEIST, but the UNGODLY atheist can only be RECONCILED back to God when they turn to the Lord!
After Jesus Christ rose from the dead he said this:
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. (Mark 16:15-16)
The BELIEVER will be SAVED, and the UNBELIEVER will be DAMNED, and that is straight from the mouth of Jesus Christ AFTER he rose from the dead! If a person’s conscience does not lead them to Jesus Christ, the one who emptied his veins on the cross, then they are as LOST as can be, and they will NEVER see Heaven according to the scriptures! Either a person comes through Jesus Christ or they do NOT come in at all!
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)
Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:7-10)