Baptists are among the largest groups of Protestant Christians, with roots tracing back to 17th century England. Since their inception, Baptists have been missionary-minded, resulting in hundreds of Baptist denominations with more than 100 million adherents worldwide. One of the core precepts held by Baptists is that the Bible is the only source of authoritative doctrine. They interpret the Bible -- including what it has to say about where we go when we die -- literally, except in cases of obvious metaphor.
Baptists believe that heaven is a literal place where those who have been "saved" will live eternally in the presence of God. According to Baptist beliefs, all who enter heaven will receive a glorified, incorruptible body that will last eternally. Baptists also believe that those who are saved will receive rewards from God based on what they have done in this life. Baptists believe that all traces of sinfulness are removed when you go to heaven, allowing believers to live in eternal unity and fellowship with God.
Baptists believe that those who die without being saved go to hell. They believe that hell is a literal place, described in the Bible as a lake of fire, and that those who go there will spend eternity being tormented "where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." Their belief in a literal hell is one of the major reasons Baptists emphasize personal and corporate efforts to lead others to faith in Jesus Christ.
Baptists teach that all sin is forgivable and that there is no need for anyone to spend eternity in hell. According to Baptist teaching, Jesus Christ paid the price for everyone's sins when he died on the cross and salvation is offered as a free gift to any who will receive Christ in faith. Those who receive salvation are considered to be saved from hell and can expect to spend eternity in heaven.
Eternal security is one of the core teachings of most Baptist churches. According to the doctrine of eternal security -- often colloquially called "once saved, always saved" -- the covenant between a new believer and God is sealed by the Holy Spirit at the instant the believer accepts Jesus as his savior. Because of this, Baptists believe that people who are saved can never, under any circumstances, lose their salvation or the promise of going to heaven when they die.
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