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Question 273:

Does Jesus’ crucifixion guarantee that all Christians will go to heaven, even those who are committed to doing evil and creating havoc?

 

Answer:

The crucifixion of Jesus led to his resurrection. This is the path by which Jesus reached his glory with God the Father. Likewise, a Christian will reach heaven if he follows the path indicated by Jesus. It is not the crucifixion as such that guarantees heaven but the willingness of a Christian to follow the way of Jesus. In other words, when a Christian encounters suffering and death, he or she is invited to have the same faith and trust that Jesus showed during his lifetime. The follower of Jesus “takes up his cross” and follows Jesus (Matthew 16:24) and “drinks the cup” that Jesus drinks (Matthew 20:20-23). Of course this “cross” and this “cup” can take many different forms and no follower of Jesus will have the same cross to carry. The challenges, burdens and struggles that life brings are different for each one of us. But Jesus shows us how to face suffering and death without fear and without resorting to anger, bitterness or revenge. Jesus maintained his trust and love of God at each moment of his life and surrendered his life to God even at the time of his death on the cross. The Christian is called to do likewise. This is the meaning of the crucifixion for a Christian believer. 

 

In answer to the question about a person “committed to doing evil and creating havoc”, it is clear that such a person could not be following Jesus in the way described above. Since the example of the way Jesus died has not made any impact on such a person’s behaviour, it will not lead such a person to heaven. The crucifixion is a guarantee of entry into heaven only for those who adopt the attitudes and actions of Jesus.

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