By Johnie Paul Edwards
Well, according to local “clergy” and the coach himself. A recent article in the Indianapolis News said, “Coach Knight is going to heaven and there’s nothing we can do about it. Despite his sins the so called head butting, cussing, chair throwing and alleged kick to his son’s leg the hot tempered Indiana University basketball coach will likely be allowed to pass through the Pearly Gates, local clergy and theologians say.” One local minister was quoted as saying, “If that’s the worst he does, that’s not that bad.” Knight said of himself, “I think I’m a pretty good guy. I’ve often said this to some of the sanctimonious self-righteous critics that I have: `I would hope when judgment day comes, they don’t have to appear before St. Peter’s table with me and only one space available for both of us and the judgment being made on which of us has done the most for his fellow man. I have no doubt St. Peter will turn to me and say, `Robert, pass through the gate.”‘
In light of the foregoing statements, it would be a good time to see what the Bible has to say about who is going to heaven.
Heaven Not For The Unrighteous
Paul said, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, or thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9-10). Evidently, some don’t know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God! John wrote, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8). Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, said, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matt. 5:6), and, “. . . That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:20). The Psalmist said, “. . . for all thy commandments are righteousness” (Psa. 119:172). Righteousness, doing right and being right with the Lord, has to do with one keeping the Lord’s commandments. Jesus told his disciples, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Heaven is a reserved place for a righteous people. “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Rev. 22:14).
Good Works Alone Are Not Enough
While the Bible upholds those who do good works (Acts 9:36), one’s salvation in heaven will not be determined solely upon who “has done the most for his fellow man.” The Hebrew writer recorded, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works” (Heb. 10:24). Love is as important as good works! Love involves doing the Lord’s commandments revealed within his word. Jesus said, “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23). While we must be “zealous of good works” we must be equally zealous of doing his commandments!
Heaven Is Reserved for Those in the Book
John, in his vision of the great white throne of Revelation 20, saw that “whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15). The Lord told the seventy who returned rejoicing in their achievements, “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Lk. 10:20). Obedience to the words of the Lord are important, because the Lord says that “if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city” (Rev. 22:19).
The Faithful Shall Receive A Crown of Life
The Lord told John to write, “. . . be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Rev. 2:10). The Hebrew writer said, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb. 11:6). The faith that saves is the faith that obeys! Those great faith heron of Hebrews 11 were obedient to the word of the Lord. Abel “offered, “Noah “prepared,” and Abraham “obeyed” (Heb. 11:4, 7, 8). Therefore, they all “obtained a good report through faith” (Heb. 11:39) and “died in faith” (Heb. 11:13).
The Bible is plain about who it is that will go to heaven. Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mk. 16:16). Let’s not accept what some basketball coach, even Bob Knight, or some denominational preacher has to say about who will go to heaven. The Lord, the righteous Judge, has revealed who it is that will go!
Guardian of Truth XXXVIII: 13, p. 23
July 7, 1994