What Do We Say

By Ron Graham


“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:17-18.


A friend’s mother passed away recently, and the lady was a devout Jehovah’s Witness. She might have lived but she refused a blood transfusion. Another friend of ours mentioned “Well, at least she’s in a better place” to which my wife gently responded, “I don’t think so”. 


Should we lie to people and tell them that their loved ones are in Heaven even though they were devoted to following a cult built on lies? “I think God will take into consideration that she was a good person and went to church every week”. Oh, really? Not according to my Bible. I guess because the JW’s have re-written the bible to say what they want it to say, they’re okay salvation wise. As my wife so appropriately states, “I don’t think so”.


So, how do we contend with people who, as they are grieving, make statements such as “at least they’re in a better place”, when we know that the deceased did not believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord? Where do we draw the line when it comes to being sympathetic? Considering that it’s too late for the dearly departed to change their minds about their faith in Jesus Christ, will it do any good to be honest when addressing the loved ones left here and grieving? I believe it will. 


Those of us who are left here after our loved ones pass away must still contend with our choice in regards to eternity. Our loved ones who have passed on are gone for good. There are no further choices for them to make. They either believed the truth of the Gospel or they believed a lie, of which there are many. Either way they can’t change their minds and choose to believe the truth after they’re dead and gone. Those loved ones who remain can still make the correct choice when lovingly confronted with the truth.


Many of those who are left here grieving are just as lost as the ones that traversed the dimension of death. And these lost people comfort themselves with the thought that their dearly departed are in a better place. Whether they believe that place to be Heaven or some made up after life existence, they are comforted by a false assumption; they believe everyone who did good in their lives goes to that “better place”. They know they’ve done plenty of good things themselves in this life and so they find solace in the belief that they will someday be reunited with their loved ones in that mythical afterlife they’ve invented.


There are believers who will not go to funerals of people they know had rejected Jesus Christ for their entire lives. They say it’s just too hard to sit there and listen to a pastor make claims of how good that person was in their life, and even though they weren’t saved “Surly they are with God”. Some will say “Who really knows how God saw that person? After all, who are we to judge a person’s salvation status?” They may have believed in God and even trusted in God to supply their needs and to heal their ills; they just couldn’t get around the idea of God dying for them on a cross.” And there’s the rub. They didn’t believe Jesus Christ was and is the Savior of the world; thus, according to the word of God they weren’t justified (saved) in God’s eyes. They’ve condemned themselves “because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God”. John 3:18b.


We can know God’s will regarding salvation. All we need to do is pick up a Bible (His word) and read it. But we must read God’s word not, man’s made up words. Think about it. Does God pull any punches in His word? I would say no. In the Gospel of John we read “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6. This is Jesus Christ speaking. Jesus Christ is God and as such He has the authority to make the statement in the verse above. He did this so everyone who follows a lie, a false gospel, a Christian cult, or any religion that teaches another way to the Father, would have no excuse when they die in their sins.


Why is it deemed cold hearted to tell someone the truth? Why should we remain silent? The one who died is gone and there’s nothing more we can do for them. But those who still remain must be told the truth so they can make an informed decision and hopefully one that would keep them from following a lost loved one to that same horrible eternal existence.


How do we know? How can we say for certain when a person passes on, if they passed on to Heaven or Hades? We aren’t God. We don’t make that decision, that’s God’s domain. A person might have had a change of mind within the last few seconds of their life, and just before they expired they might have said yes to Jesus Christ. Perhaps never verbally speaking the words out loud so family and friends would know they made that decision. Well certainly if they lived a life as a Christ rejecter and in those last few seconds silently changed their mind, only God would know that. But when a person lives their life as a devout member of a cult, and throughout that life they continually rejected the deity of Jesus Christ, then more than likely when they breathed their last breath they did so in that same frame of mind. 


Either way the truth needs to be promoted. The loved ones who knew their dearly departed family member was never a follower of Jesus Christ wouldn’t know if they silently made a confession to God just before death and so they would need to be told that if they don’t want to suffer the same end as their loved one they must make a decision for Christ while they are still breathing.


If we tell people, or even agree with people, that their loved ones have gone to Heaven because they were a good person, even though we know they were devout in their cultic faith, or had no faith in Christ at all, we are leading them astray. We might just as well be telling them that there are many roads that lead to Heaven. In a way we are denying Christ by not speaking the truth. He gave His life to give us the only way to Heaven, but if we tell others that a “good person” who dies goes to Heaven even though they had not accepted Christ, we deny His sacrifice.


“...whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 10:33. When we keep silent we deny Him, when we agree with a falsehood such as many paths lead to Heaven, we deny His payment for our sins. Either way we’ve mislead the loved ones who remain.


So what do we do when we have loved ones who are thoroughly immersed in a cult or some other false religion? Do we keep peace in the family by remaining silent about the truth of the Gospel? How will remaining silent or even condoning a cult or a false religion help to bring a loved one out of that false, and very damning, teaching? If we love them we must tell them the truth. Even attending a religious function with loved ones who are in a cult at their place of worship should be avoided at all costs. Those who belong to a cult might perceive a nonexistent softening towards their false religion or worse, a condoning of their practices by those who join them even as spectators of their rituals. 


Should “In Christ” believers bend over backwards to keep civility and peace in the family, a family which is separated by those who have turned away from the truth of Jesus Christ and embraced a lie? After all, they’re condemned to Hell. How does keeping the peace with these folks show our love for them, especially when we keep silent about the truth? The truth of the Gospel is the only truth with regards to salvation. Love means telling people the truth about Jesus so they will not follow all the Christ rejecters who went to Hades before them.


Let’s see what Jesus says about keeping peace in the family. “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.” Luke 12:51-53. Clearly Jesus knew that following Him would cause division even in the sanctity of our own families. But should we be deterred by this division? Absolutely not. We must continually and without hesitation remain faithful to Christ by contending for the faith.


Most would probably consider it common courtesy to avoid the subject about Heaven or Hell altogether at a nonbeliever’s funeral. After all, as long as we are saved that’s what matters, right? As born again believers we should all have a tremendous burden on our hearts concerning the lost. The lost who have passed on have reached a finality believers in Christ can do nothing about, but nothing is final when it comes to the lost loved ones who remain. 


It is simple to stand on God’s truth. But if you don’t know where to find the answers to rebuttals and outright disparagements which will undoubtedly come from the lost, then you will probably just go along with their self affirmations of everyone goes to Heaven when they die. Jesus said “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:14. Here again Jesus makes it clear that there is only one way to Heaven and that is through Him and Him alone. He refers to Himself as the narrow way and few will find that way. And even fewer will find it if we keep silent.


“And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” Luke 10:27. We’re commanded to love one another. If you love your neighbor as yourself you won’t just let them live a lie without explaining the truth to them.


Funerals are tough on the ones left here, but not on the one who departs. For the nonbeliever or cult follower who’s funeral we’ve just witnessed, Hell is their next destination and that’s the truth whether we want to admit it to the lost loved ones remaining at the funeral or not.


On the other hand, those lost folks who are left here in mourning, even though they are fully condemned to Hell, can still hear the truth from a believer and perhaps they will make a decision to accept Christ and avoid Hell. There’s no grey area when it comes to salvation, Heaven is only available to those who believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no other option, there is no other way, “...for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12


God bless you all,


Ron Graham


All scripture is from the KJV