I love the heart behind this question. It is right for us to long for our friends to be with us in heaven. When it comes to people we love, it is right for us to hope for their eternal future! There is in fact a heaven and a hell, and it matters that we know how to make it into heaven.
This begs the question – “How do people get into heaven anyways?”
Here’s what I’ll say, the Bible makes it clear that God deeply loves every human. However, humans have a problem…the problem of sin. The Bible says that “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23). This sin is a serious problem. There is a punishment for our sin. The Bible says that the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). God doesn’t let any sin in heaven. I like to think of it this way – what kind of a place would heaven be if God let everyone bring their sin into heaven?
This is a serious problem. How do we get into heaven if we have sin? Some people think that they can erase their sin by doing good things. But think about it – If I do or say something rude to my wife – the way to fix it is really not to go and do the dishes and buy her flowers. That’s nice to do, but to fix the problem, I need to ask her for forgiveness. Ephesians 2:8-9 says this:
- “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
So how do we get out sin problem fixed? Well, Jesus made a way for our sins to be forgiven. Jesus volunteered to die on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven – He died so that we don’t have to! He took the punishment that we deserved. So how do you get into heaven? Well, it all boils down to what you do with Jesus. Jesus went around preaching “repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15).
What do we have to do to make it into heaven?
First, we must repent. That just means that we
are truly sorry for our sin, and that we genuinely desire to follow and obey
Jesus. Second, we must believe in Jesus. This means that we believe that He is
the Son of God who died and was raised again. It means that we “put all our
eggs in one basket” and trust Jesus to save us and bring us heaven.
So, it all boils down to what you do with Jesus.
1 John 2:23 says:
Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father
John 8:23-24 says:
And He was saying to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”
So, to get to your question: Will you find your Jewish friends in heaven?
The answer is this: it depends on what they believe about Jesus. Those who deny that Jesus is the Christ will not enter into heaven.
Now that is a painful thing to think about.
This is why Paul (a Jew who was miraculously converted to Christianity) wrote this in Romans 10:1
- “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.”
Paul cared so much about his Jewish
friends that he even wished that he could trade places with them – that he
could be left out of heaven and that they might get in. He wrote this in Romans
- “I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh,
Here’s the good news.
Jesus died for both the Jew and the Gentile. Jesus holds open the door of salvation to everyone who repents and believes – especially to the Jews.
Paul wrote this in Romans 1:16-17
- "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the
power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first
and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness
of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”
Of course there is much more that could be said, but I hope that gives some insight into what the Bible teaches about this.
I’m glad you had the chance to stop by our booth at the fair! We as pastors certainly don’t know everything! But the Bible offers real answers and real hope.