I’ve met adulterers, liars, prostitutes, occultists and criminals. I saw some good in all of them and they all probably thought they were good. Yet, true Catholicism teaches that people such as these, unless they repent, will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Many of our priests today seem to be teaching otherwise, and it is fashionable to believe that everyone, or nearly everyone, will go to heaven. On the contrary, the saints and the fathers of the Church who addressed this issue taught that few will be saved. Who is right?
If you spent $40,000 on a new car and upon taking delivery noticed a long, deep scratch on one of the doors, how would you respond? Would you say, “Well, the rest of the car is good, so I guess this doesn’t matter.” Or would you tell the salesman, “This is a new car. It’s supposed to be perfect. Either give me another one or properly repair this one.” If you or I wouldn’t accept a flawed new car, why would we expect God to allow unrepentant sinners into heaven?
One might object, “We are not talking about cars. We are talking about human beings. No one is perfect. God is loving and forgiving.” Yes, God is loving and forgiving, but we shouldn’t assume that we can be unrepentant sinners and still get into heaven. Most of the time, the Bible literally means what it says. On this subject it says, “Be holy because I am (God is) holy” (I Peter 1:16) and “Nothing impure will ever enter it (heaven)” (Revelation 21:27). Nowhere in the Bible or in the Catechism of the Church does it say that unrepentant, sinful people will go to heaven.
Why is the world such an unhappy place? It’s because humanity is sinful. Why is heaven such a happy place? It’s because there is no sin in heaven. If unrepentant sinners went to heaven, it would no longer be a happy place. Heaven is God’s holy domain. The presence of sin there would be a desecration.
God is not hard hearted. He gives us plenty of time to repent and to strive for holiness. One might object, “It is impossible to be as holy as God. If what you are saying is true, than no one can be saved.” Yes, by our own power, it is impossible to be holy, but by God’s grace it is possible. This is the reason for our holy faith. Through it, God gives us the grace we need to overcome sin and finally reach heaven.
One of the devil’s most effective strategies is to reassure us that all will be well, in spite of our sin. Don’t be among the many who foolishly presume upon God’s mercy. Be among the few who humbly strive for holiness.