Are You Saying My Grandma
Went To Hell?
by Kimberly B. Southall
All scripture references are linked to The Bible Gateway. When you click on a scripture reference, it may take a few moments for it to load. Once you are finished reading the scripture reference, click "back" on your browser to return to this article.
When evangelizing with the biblical plan of salvation, undoubtedly one or more of the following scriptures are read or shown to the person being evangelized:
  • Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. Mark 16:16 (NIV)
  • Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. John 3:5 (NIV)
  • 38Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call." 40With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." 41Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. Acts 2:38-41 (NIV)
  • And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name. Acts 22:16 (NIV)
  • 3Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. Romans 6:3-5 (NIV)
  • 26You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Galatians 3:26-27 (NIV)
  • 18For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, 19through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison 20who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also--not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand--with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him. 1 Peter 3:18 (NIV)
The truthful power of any one or more of those scriptures often begins to "convict" the listener without any added commentary whatsoever. But if the person has been taught a popular but unbiblical plan of salvation, then an amazing phenomenon often occurs. As the listener begins to realize the truth of the scripture(s), far too often they quickly take offense and offer this response:

"Are you saying my grandma went to hell?"

Now it doesn't matter that you've never mentioned anything but the scriptures nor that you've never even heard of this person's grandmother and how she lived, not to mention that you couldn't have known that she was deceased. But there's that all-too-common accusatory response just the same. And, of course, depending upon the person, "grandma" could be replaced by any other relative or friend of the person making the response. But it all boils down to the same thing.

Are you one of those people? Is that what immediately comes to mind when you read any of those verses? If so, I ask that you finish reading this with your mind open to God's truth.

First, the Bible says what it says. Please understand that we can't change what it says or means, no matter how much or why we might want to. God's Word is the truth. God is the One who provides the opportunity for salvation, and He is the only One who can say how we can achieve that salvation. After all, He is GOD.

Keeping that in mind, when someone simply reads a scripture to you, he or she isn't accusing or judging anyone of anything. God is. It is His Word--the truth. So to answer that question of "Are you saying my grandma went to hell?" . . . well that isn't my or anyone else's place to say that. But if she didn't follow the biblical plan of salvation, then the Bible tells us hell will be her final destination. It might be a difficult truth to accept, but it is vital that we do accept God's truth, particularly where it concerns our own final destination for all of eternity.

You may be thinking, "But Grandma was such a good woman." That may be so, but we know that we can't earn salvation that way, or Jesus would have suffered and died for nothing.

You might be thinking, "But I love my grandma. I can't believe that would happen to her." Well, you must ask yourself whether or not you believe what Jesus Himself said in Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:16, and John 3:5. And keep in mind that God doesn't play favorites, either (Acts 10:34-35).

You might think, "Well if this plan of salvation I was taught was good enough for Grandma, then it must be good enough for me." Think about that. If your grandmother was wrong (and she was wrong if she didn't follow the biblical plan of salvation), then her plan wasn't good enough. And it isn't good enough to save you, either.

You may think, "Well, I love Grandma so much, I want to be with her again." First, consider this verse:

37"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  Matthew 10:37-39 (NIV)

So, folks, if your Grandma really does end up in hell and you really do love her more than you love Jesus, then sadly you will go to be with her. But you won't like it there.

So to sum it up, please seriously consider the biblical plan of salvation. It's in God's Word, it's the truth, and it's for you. Believe it, repent of your sins, confess Jesus as Lord and Savior, be immersed in water for the forgiveness of your sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, and live a faithful Christian life to the end. Remember, even if it's too late for your Grandma, it still isn't too late for you.

Copyright © 2000 Kimberly B. Southall.