It is believed by sections of the Christian population, that all ‘Servants of God’, that is, men and women who have dedicated their lives to serve God and the Church, and preaching the Gospel to all; have already won their entry to Heaven.
These, however, are two concepts totally distinct from each other, and places salvation on a personal meritorious scale, leaving aside the Atoning Sacrifice of our Lord Jesus for the salvation of our lives.
The idea itself, it is appealing to many. What else can an average human think of someone who preaches the Gospel, brings to salvation many lost people, lives according to the commandments of Lord Jesus, and miracles are performed through them?. The most logical thing would be to assume that God is with them, and at their moment of their death, their entry to God’s Presence is guarantee beyond any doubt.
If things are as good as that, it is very probable that they will be saved as we think, and not only that, rewarded greatly for their loyalty to God. But nevertheless, we do not know them deeply. We only know what we see externally.
The Scripture has two stories where the characters were Servants of God, but they ended up in condemnation after all.
Apostle Judas Iscariot is one of them. He was called by Lord Jesus as an Apostle, one of the selected Twelve (Matthew 10:1-4) who performed miracles and converted people during his ministry (Luke 10:17-20), but Scripture speaks of his evil nature even from before he decided to betray his Lord (John 12:6). Indeed, he ended up losing himself, as Lord Jesus said it (John 6:70; 17:12).
Another example is in the story of the Judgement of God to those who prophesied and did miracles and casted demons out of people in the Holy Name of Jesus, effectively. The story told by Jesus himself, tells us that even though the power of God, worked through them during these events, they were condemned due to their unholy lives (Matthew 7:22-23).
Often, we seem to forget that God saves us through his Grace, and not because our actions, good or bad. However, this salvation can only be owned by anyone, through Faith and Repentance (Mark 1:5). This Faith and Repentance of our sins, brings, according to the Scriptural principles, a conversion from an ungodly life, to a life in harmony with God (Matthew 3:7-9). Every time the Bible speaks of ‘salvific faith’, speaks of an obedient faith, and not only from an intellectual assent (Matthew 7:24-27; 2Corinthians 10:5-6).
Any Christian, in fact all humans, including God’s Servants, will be judged taking into account their actions, and then, their Faith and Repentance.
Unbelievers will be judged by their unbelief and bad actions, and having not ground for forgiveness, they will be irremediably condemned eternally.
Those who died in Faith and Repentant, will be judged by their actions, and then absolved of their sins due to their Faith and Repentance through Lord Jesus atonement.
But those ‘believers’ who have worked for God, but have died in Faith but unrepentant, they will be judged by their actions, and since there was no repentance of their bad actions, they will not be forgiven for their mental ‘faith’, and will be also condemned eternally (Matthew 7:22-23; Revelation 20:12).
EVERYTHING IS GRACE
Lord Jesus said once:
“So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.”
All gifts given to us by God, are given out of his free will and goodness; and never because we have gained the merits to get one (1Corinthians 12:11); and that is exactly what the word translated as ‘gifts’, in Greek, χαρισμάτων, equals to an ‘undeserved favour’ (1Corinthians 12:4).
But the reception of gifts from God, to be used for his greater Glory in service of his purpose for his Church, has nothing to do with our own personal moral accountability before God; and we eventually, will have to answer for our personal behaviour, when none of what we have done for God will be able to erase our personal guilt.
The problem with the Servants of God of the above story our Lord spoke about; it was that all of them lived sinfully, not according to Jesus’s teachings, and worse of all, they in an unrepentant way, tried to ‘earn’ their entry to Heaven, based on what they had done during their lives for God. This lack of repentance caused their sins to remain in them, and they were judged according to their heart’s inclinations, without the opportunity of late forgiveness.
Every man and woman, will be judged morally by God, through their Faith, Repentance and actions. Since everyone sins, then all humans will be found short of the Glory of God, and then their faith and repentance will be taken into account; finding those who believed in Jesus and repented of their sinful lives before death, forgiven and admitted into paradise; and those who died in unbelief and unrepentance, or with faith but unrepentant, will not be acquitted of their sinfulness, and will be condemned equally to Hell Fire; whether they were simple men, or great Servants of God, during their lives on Earth.