Originally posted by Phranny
You still have not really answered by question. Are you denied access to hevan if you do not believe in Jesus regardless of the life led?
Hi Phranny, I know you are not asking me but I would like to reply with my view of this very pertinent question.
All the prophets in the OT were clearly "saved" (to use a common term) and yet had never heard of Jesus as he hadn't been born; right up to an including John the baptiser. So it cannot be stated that it is impossible to enter the afterlife unless you believe in Jesus.
The nature of God's salvation has always been one of repentance through realisation/revelation of ones sinful nature and obedience through faith and repentance. "Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness". The significance of this statement should not be understated.
Are we to assume that every single individual on earth will have heard the message of the good news of Jesus Christ? And if they did hear, at what point shall we decide that the level of hearing was sufficient to be classed "you've had your chance now"? Certainly not. Look at James 4:17 "So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin." For me this is an important scripture which considers the knowledge of what is the right thing to do; note it does not say 'good thing' or 'evil thing' but the right thing. The scripture also says that failing to do this right thing is that individuals sin, not general or fora group, but specific to him.
The book of James is a letter about the demonstration of faith through deeds and yet it is clearly called out elsewhere in scripture that it "without faith it is impossible to please God" and that "works without faith are dead". So what is James saying? James is saying that those who act in obedience to a good conscience (a consciousnesses alert to prompting from the spirit of God) can escape the opportunity to act sinfully in a particular instance. The spirit of God is able to speak to all individuals and all have the opportunity to listen.
Christ however offers a new hope and a new covenant whereby we no longer under law not reliant to live a hand to mouth existence of justification before God through works. Every single person who reads this forum will have had contact of some sort with the spirit of the living God either as a wider calling or as in a finger poking at their mind in a particular instance. Doing the "right" thing all the time is difficult when our consciences are flawed.
Deathbed conversions are controversial by their nature, and your example implies it is advantageous to lead a wicked life and leap through at the last moment by the skin of your teeth. "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows." Galatians 6:7.
The original sin was unbelief, deliberate willful unbelief. Right at the beginning God has said "My spirit will not contend with man forever". So, God does contend with our spirits of unbelief, provoking us to the the "right thing" but in Christ we have a new covenant that goes beyond obedience and works and into rest and peace and security in him.
Yes theoretically both men could enter, but one will have absolute surety and hope in Christ, the other in something else.