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“Can I go to heaven without professing Jesus?”

“Can I go to heaven without professing Jesus?”

DECEMBER 2, 2022

/ Programs / Key Life / “Can I go to heaven without professing Jesus?”

Steve Brown:
Can I go to heaven without professing Jesus? The answer to that and other questions, on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
Key Life exists to communicate that the deepest message of Jesus in the Bible is the radical grace of God to sinners and sufferers. Life’s hard for everyone, so grace is for all of us. But there is a lot of confusion about how grace applies to real life, so here’s seminary professor and author Steve Brown and Pete Alwinson to answer your questions.

Steve Brown:
Thank you Matthew. Hi Pete.

Pete Alwinson:
Hey man. Here we go. Friday.

Steve Brown:
Yeah, man. I can, we’ve said it a thousand times, but now that we’re not a pastor, it’s not a horrible day.

Pete Alwinson:
It’s not. Although I am preaching Sunday. Are you preaching this Sunday?

Steve Brown:
No, no, no.

Pete Alwinson:
All right. Okay.

Steve Brown:
I’ll pray for you. I’m sorry. Your week-end went right out the window.

Pete Alwinson:
There we go.

Steve Brown:
That’s Pete Alwinson. And by the way, if you haven’t read his book, Like Father Like Son, you need, you’re working on another book, aren’t you?

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah, we are. We are. And we’re working on. Forge is working on, we have two or three in the mix here that we’re, but we haven’t gotten them, going yet. Soon.

Steve Brown:
You’re not ready to talk about it yet.

Pete Alwinson:
Not yet.

Steve Brown:
They’re going to be historic best sellers. Some of the greatest words in the,

Pete Alwinson:
I’m not C.S. Lewis brother. I’m not Steve Brown.

Steve Brown:
But you’ll love his, if you haven’t read Like Father Like Son, read it. It is an amazing book. And by the way, we love to get your questions. You can call 1-800-KEY-LIFE anytime you want and record your questions. And sometimes we put that on the air, your voice. Or you can send your question to

Key Life Network
P.O. Box 5000
Maitland, Florida 32794

in Canada, it’s

Key Life Canada
P.O. Box 28060
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6J8

or you can e-mail us your question at [email protected] And by the way, those are touch places where if you pray about it and you feel like you’d like to support this ministry, you can send a contribution. And I promise we’ll use it for the glory of God. Not, most people are not able to help us financially, and we get that. But if you are and you’re called to be as generous as you can, and you’ll be pleased with what God does with your gift. Hey Pete, why don’t you, And by the way, we’re a not for profit, that goes without saying, so you can take it off your taxes. So there. But do it quickly cause the pagans are going to take that away if we’re not careful. Pete, lead us in prayer and we’ll get to these questions.

Pete Alwinson:
You got it. Our Great God, what a joy, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to come into your presence today. And Lord, just to thank you for this week, to recognize your sovereign power, your grace, your mercy, your kindness to us in so many ways. And Lord, how easy it is for us to forget. And to think that we lived a whole week without you being in control. Well, we honor you. We praise you. Lord, we look forward to worshiping this week-end. We need to worship. So, draw us together. Help us to get into the presence of your people, and to hear your word preached, to hear your praises sung, to enter in, Holy Spirit, we pray that you would draw us to be with your people and to be brought into your presence. We commit our time to you now at Q&A. And so thankful for Steve, for those who do so much also behind the scenes here at Key Life to answer questions, to get resources to other people and to care for those who are hurting. And we just commit this ministry to you and ourselves to you right now, as we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Steve Brown:
Amen. Hey Pete, let’s go to our phone lines.

Caller 1:
In the past, I can remember reading Scripture, that to me left open the possibility that after your earthly body dies, that you still may be received into heaven even if you haven’t professed faith in Jesus prior to your earthly death.

Steve Brown:
Well, that’s, you know, that’s kind of something that we don’t decide, that God decides. And it’s above our pay level, but there’s some hints that we get in Scripture. And profession is connected to confession and is a part of the salvatory experience. And so, ordinarily, nah, I wouldn’t count on getting to heaven if you haven’t professed it. However, that’s not how you’re saved. There isn’t a connection that if you profess, then you’ll be saved because that comes from something else. And that’s salvation by faith in Christ alone.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right.

Steve Brown:
You know, and we had some, a number of Jewish believers in our congregation in Miami. One was the granddaughter of the man who built the King David Hotel in Israel.

Pete Alwinson:
Wow.

Steve Brown:
And she was a member of a synagogue and she was also a part of our church. And she said, I guess I could stand up at my synagogue and say I’ve become a Christian. But she said, Steve, that’s very complicated. That’s really, and I could understand that. I mean, given who she was and where it was coming from, and I believe she’s in heaven now and I firmly believe she is in heaven because her faith was in Christ alone. If your faith is in Christ alone and you never profess it, your faith is probably not in Christ alone. So, profession does follow the confession of your faith and generally that’s true, but I wouldn’t make an absolute rule that this person isn’t going to heaven cause they didn’t profess it.

Pete Alwinson:
We certainly don’t know. And I think that that’s, like you said, it’s above our pay grade to really know how to really answer that question. So we’re good to go on trusting in Christ in this life, this is what we must do.

Steve Brown:
Yes. How is one, this an e-mail, how is one filled with the Holy Spirit?

Pete Alwinson:
How is one filled with the Holy Spirit? You know, it’s a supernatural act of God that takes place, when we, when he comes to us. And it’s amazing in John 3 it says that.

The Holy Spirit is like the wind.

Right? And we don’t know where he comes from or where he goes, but he changes our hearts. So, how do we get filled with the Holy Spirit on a regular basis after that would be sort of that, you know, once we come to faith in Christ and are baptized by the Spirit into Christ by continuing to allow our lives to be filled with him, asking for it.

Steve Brown:

Walk with Christ as you came to Christ.

John said. Do you remember that Bill Bright little booklet, How to be Filled with the Holy Spirit?

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah. There was the breathing illustration.

Steve Brown:
Yeah. He said, you breathe out the sin, you breathe in the Spirit. And you know, that teaching absolutely blew my wife away. And she said, that really has been helpful to me. So, maybe you could think of it that way, the way Dr. Bright talked about it, he said, you confess, that’s breathing out and you breathe in, ask the Holy Spirit to fill you. At that point, a reality takes place and that’s what it is.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah. And you know that is to be the normal Christian life, right? Do not be drunk with wine for that’s dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit. So, it really is a goal for us to be filled, you know, all day long, every day. And we leak, I mean, overnight I leak and I need to wake up and have some time remembering my identity in Christ.

Steve Brown:
That’s true.

Pete Alwinson:
Letting the gospel kind of re-energize me and remind me who I am.

Steve Brown:
Now, I’m not going to touch this, but I’m going to let you, so that people can be angry at you and not me. Talk about the baptism of the Holy Spirit as opposed to being filled with the Holy Spirit.

Pete Alwinson:
God bless you, Steve. Thank you for letting me get in trouble. Well, you know, I Corinthians 12:13, we’re to be baptized by the Spirit into Christ. And that’s really, I think what, the work of conversion and the work of the Spirit. Who is the major agent of God that takes the gospel and actually applies it into our hearts and then puts us in union with Jesus.

Steve Brown:
You know, I often say to my charismatic, Pentecostal friends that I’m okay with your baptism of the Holy Spirit, as long as that happens often, over a period of your walk with Christ. If you see it as a one for all experience, I can’t buy that. But I, but I can go, if there’s a second baptism and a third baptism and a fourth baptism, and they generally laugh and we decide we can disagree and we can still love each other.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right. That’s right.

Steve Brown:
Any advice for witnessing? That’s an e-mail.

Pete Alwinson:
Oh man. You know, we are all called as, to witness. And the basic idea of witnessing is the Greek word martirias, which carries the idea of martyr. But really one of the primary ways is just to simply allow the Holy Spirit to control you so that you’re living as a follower of Christ. The more Christ like we are, the more people are more likely to say, Why are you this way?

Steve Brown:
That’s true.

Pete Alwinson:
And then the I Peter 3:15 thing.

Honor Christ as Lord in your heart.

Always be ready.

Steve Brown:
Yeah. You know, when Paul says in Galatians.

I’m crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, I live, but Christ lives in me.

He was not giving a commandment. He was talking about an accomplished, established fact in our life. I don’t care who you are, I don’t care what you’re doing, right or wrong, good or bad. If you are a saved, born again Christian, you’re crucified with Christ.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right.

Steve Brown:
And Christ is in you.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right.

Steve Brown:
So, maybe the most important thing about witnessing is showing, you know, you smell like Jesus, you can’t help it. Even when you do bad things, you can’t help it, you know. And maybe just showing, like you said, is what creates the questions.

Pete Alwinson:
Yeah. A lot more than we would, we expect. And then.

Be ready to give an account for the hope that’s within you.

Yet, as Peter says, and he ought know cause he wasn’t always gentle and respectful, but that’s how we’re supposed to do it.

Steve Brown:
Yeah. The good stuff. Why is the Holy Spirit almost never mentioned in various greetings in the New Testament? I haven’t thought about that, it’s really not, it’s mostly Jesus and God, but that doesn’t mean the Holy Spirit’s not mentioned. Almost always, he’s mentioned in the benedictions. And throughout each of the letters and the books of the Bible, it has the Holy Spirit everywhere.

Pete Alwinson:
Absolutely. Yeah. Keep, you know, they all begin, it seems like grace to you and peace from God, our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s true. But the Holy Spirit is all through.

Steve Brown:
Yeah. You know, one of the things about the Holy Spirit that we sometimes don’t recognize is that his job description isn’t to call attention to himself, but to point to the first and second persons of the Trinity.

Pete Alwinson:
That’s right.

Steve Brown:
Which he does. So, maybe you’re seeing a demonstration of that in the greetings that you find in the letters of the New Testament.

Pete Alwinson:
Oh, you’re absolutely right. And what a joy it is to be filled with the Spirit so that we can do the same thing, cast attention upon the Father and the Son.

Steve Brown:
So true. Got to go. Key Life has a listener supported production of Key Life Network.

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