A Question I Was Asked:

Could Some 'Believers' Still Find Themselves in the Lake of Fire?

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A friend and I were discussing the end times and eternal life. I have always believed that once a person gives their life to Jesus, they receive salvation and will get into heaven as per the scripture that states "Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). On the other-hand, my friend believes that even if a person says they believe in Jesus, if they do nothing with their "faith" e.g. they spend all their time and resources on the couch playing xbox, they will NOT get into heaven.

This of course led to a discussion about how our salvation is not based on works, but by faith; which my friend agrees with. However, he pointed to the parable of the talents, especially the part where it states "So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 25:28-30). Just before that, the servant with the one talent stated "‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’" (Matthew 25:24-25).

When I now read those verses it would seem like the servant with the one talent knew the master and his attributes, but still decided to do nothing with his talent; like a believer knowing who Jesus is, but deciding to do nothing with their faith.

In 2016, you wrote an article on the parable and ended by saying "So spiritual laziness ('I'm already saved so why should I worry?') is shown to be completely unacceptable."

So trying to understand it all, am I supposed to believe that a lazy believer will end up in hell "where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth"? Or should I continue believing that everyone who decides to believe in Jesus will get into heaven, however the difference will be in the evaluation of the believer (the rewards the believers will receive)?
I hope the above makes sense.

UK Apologetics Reply:

All-round this is an interesting email. You commence by specifically asking me, 'my question is to do with whether some "believers" could still find themselves in the lake of fire.' A quick answer here is: no, it is not possible if they are true believers because God protects His own elect. John 6:37-40. Ephesians 1:3-14. Romans 8 (entire chapter).

A second quick answer is that if both such people do indeed make it into heaven, yes, this is about rewards and their level. However, the problem here is that you are reducing the whole thing to the behaviour/opinions/actions/possible neglect of men and women, you are treating it on a subjective level, but this is about the election of God! For example, your last paragraph states, "..should I continue to believe that everyone who decides to believe in Jesus..." but ultimately it is not about what you or I might 'decide' to do - it is about calling and election! If genuinely called we DO make it into the kingdom! Christ has promised that and Paul the Apostle stresses and underlines this promise in Romans 8; also, very carefully read Ephesians 1:3-14. So the man in the parable who had the 'bag of gold' taken from him was - it would appear - not truly called and chosen; maybe he mixed with true believers for a while but his attitude was ultimately shown to be wrong; he did not have God's Spirit because he was not an elect, truly called Christian believer. To get a fuller picture, I would strongly advise you to read:


I don't normally respond to questions of an unreasonable length but this is an interesting point which does need to be clarifed.

I hope that this all helps.

Robin A. Brace. April 30th, 2020.