Tator. im going to have to agree with you on one of your points. and disagree with you on another. yes it is sad to see good people die, before they hav had the chance to exept jesus as there savior, because we all know that without doing so they will not be going to a better place. but i do have to disagree with our point of view about just beliveing not being enugh. once you have exepted god, and jesus as your savor, you will be going to a better place when you die. that is why he is called our savior. not saying you can just say it, not realy bieleve it, go out and commit horable crimes and expect a free ride to heaven. but i do bileve thay once you have truely exepted jesus as your savor, let him into your life, pray for forgivness for your real sins (not every little stupid thing you have ever done, but were you did do some really meesed up stuff.) and try not to do thoughs things any more, and pray for forgivness if you fail. then you are saved. i do not bieleve you must read the bible front to back 10 times, or go to chirch every sunday, or try your best to be mother teressa to go to heaven. you only have to truley exept jesus, and try to be a better person than you were before exepting him and your going to heaven.
Hunt NH, with all due respect I think you misunderstood me! I absolutely agree with most of what you are saying. Your last sentence is puzzling me though because yes I do believe that if you except Jesus and try to be a better person you will be on the right path, but you have to have a relationship with him as well. That's what He requires. That relationship involves prayer, reading scripture, congregating with other Christians and most importantly witnessing His Name to others who are unsaved.
When you are saved by the grace of God, you are going to Heaven. In my beliefs (Baptist) we believe once saved always saved. Some religions believe that you can lose your salvation, this to me is false. So I agree with you on that 100%. I also did not say you HAD to read your Bible front to back 10 times through or go to church EVERY Sunday, but God does want us to do that. God also does want us to live a Christ-like life so if that means living like Mother Teressa then so be it. My point is, God wants a relationship with us. In his word, the Bible, it says over and over again that he wants us to congregate with other Christians. To help each other out because this world is a crazy, bad place at times. What most people think of when they hear these passages is "going to Church". God also wants us to learn his word and live our life accordingly. How are we going to learn His word if we don't read the Bible? Now, I can honesly say, I've never sat down and read the entire Bible through from front to back (but I am currently reading the Bible through in a year). So I absolutely agree with most of the points you made.
Now that said... When we get to Heaven, God has made it very clear that everyone will be judged and "rewarded" diferently. For example, if you follow Christ and his teaching, have a strong relationship with him, witness to the unsaved, and live a more Christ-like life than most people you are going to be heavily rewarded in Heaven. Whereas if you live a life where you are constantly in and out of sin and always struggling to do the right thing and trying but often failing at living a Christ-like life, then your reward in Heaven will not be as great. But, like I said before, once you are saved you are going to Heaven.... you just might have more to answer to on judgement day than others.
I think a big point we are also missing is the fact that God wants us to witness to others as well. If you go your whole life and witness to no one, then what good were you to God other than to save yourself? In His eyes that would be a selfish act, you would be in Heaven but you can bet He's going to ask you why you didn't proclaim His Name.
I honesly, also, believe that God is going to ask us, "why didn't you attend my house most Sundays" but fortunately I do go to Church every Sunday, and not because I think I'm more holy than the next guy, but because I need that in my life. I have to have it. It gets me pumped up and refocused on the important things in my life. He wants us to have that close relationship with our brothers and sisters and He wants us to study His word together. This is my belief from what I was taught. Just merely going to Church every Sunday does not mean you are going to Heaven, you have to worship His Name the right way and do all the other things that are required of you. Going to Church is something I WANT to do, not something I have to do.
Trying to be a better person is also important, but I can honesly say you aren't going to get far if you don't use His scripture and pray to Him to help you. There are so many things in this world that can tempt us and draw us away from God. That's why Prayer, scripture reading and Church are so important. They draw us closer to Him. As far as Church, there is strength in numbers... God wants us to be strong together and support each other. That's why we have a great support system at my Church, it's because God is the head of it.