How Do I Get to Heaven?

Think carefully on this soul-searching question:  If you died right now, do you know for sure that you would to go heaven? People who are certain of going to heaven know that their sins are forgiven by the blood of Christ because they have personally come to Him for His forgiveness. They don’t hope that someone else has prayed for them, or that they once went to this or that church, or that they got baptized somewhere as a baby, because they know Jesus personally and feel free to talk to Him anytime, anywhere, about anything.

The Bible teaches that all people can be this confident about forgiveness and heaven by knowing about and believing four simple things.

First, if you want to have your sins forgiven, you have to accept the fact that you have sins to forgive.  Have you ever thought, “Well, I try to live a good life” and then worried that the good you do might not be good enough? Join the imperfect club and admit that no one can live up to God’s perfect standard. The Bible tells us “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). But you can find your hope in the fact the God knows this and has given you the way to come to Him anyway, through the life, death, and resurrection of His only Son.

Second, have you ever felt guilty about sins you have committed? That’s your conscience telling you that you owe a debt because of your sin, and before you can be right with God you must pay the penalty. But, the Bible tells us “the penalty for sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Death? But you know you’ve sinned and yet you’re still here! The death the Bible is talking about is spiritual death. Spiritual death is separation from God, which you’re probably feeling right now, always wondering if God really cares about you, wondering if He hears your prayers, wondering if He will ever answer you. People talk a lot about hell, half hoping it’s something preachers made up to scare you into being good, half joking that you’ll be able to meet your friends there because you know you’re not any better than they are. But hell is real; it’s a dark, lonely, burning place where people will physically go, and it never ends. Yikes! What can you do about this? Here is how Paul explained it: “But I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate, I do. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this is what I keep on doing. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:14-25, NIV). So you see, Jesus really IS the answer! “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever (that means you!) believeth in Him should not perish (die spiritually, be separated from God, go to hell), but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). So Paul says, and God says, Jesus has already paid your sin debt.

Third, this is really good news!  God showed His love for us in that, “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).  God took all of our sin and placed in on Jesus, Who carried it all as He hung on the Cross. Jesus took every ounce of God’s punishment for our sin, in our place, even though He had never sinned Himself (which we know is true because if He had sinned, He would have had to pay His own price, but He did not, because though He died for our sin, He didn’t stay dead)! It’s an amazing act of love, but it’s not too good to be true. All you have to do about it is accept that Jesus has already paid your sin debt in full.

Fourth, all of this requires that you have faith, that you accept the truth about yourself, and believe that God not only has made a way for you to come to Him, but that He actually wants you to come to Him. The Bible teaches that everyone who believes what Jesus has done will have everlasting life. The Bible also teaches that everyone who refuses to believe will not only not have everlasting life, but will live condemned in God’s wrath (John 3:36). People are divided into two groups:  those who believe Jesus Christ to give them salvation and those who don’t. There is no gray area here, no place for fence-sitters who want to keep living the way they always have thinking they’ll make a decision “later on.” The whole point of this discussion is that there may not be a “later on,” given the state this world is in. Those who believe have everlasting life and those who don’t believe don’t. The word “believe” means to trust, to depend upon, to rely on. This is where faith comes in. Right now you probably can’t imagine being able to know with absolute certainty that God really is that good to understand your sin and inability to get out of it on your own and to have planned a way to get you out of it by sacrificing His only Son Who paid your sin-debt on the Cross, and Who was raised from the grave because the sin that put Him there was yours, not His. But it’s true. As sure as the Bible tells you you’re a sinner without hope, it also tells you that if you “declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9, NIV).

Believe it and say so to be saved, how hard is that? The moment you do this, God promises you are not condemned but have everlasting life and that you will never go to hell. Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death into life” (John 5:24).

Admit you’re a sinner, realize you owe a sin-debt to God, believe Jesus Christ has already paid your sin-debt, and have faith that He has done it for you. “Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner and I deserve to pay my own sin-debt, but I do believe that You died for me and paid the debt I owe. Today, the best I know how, I trust You as my Savior. I will depend on You alone for everlasting life and to show me, by Your presence within me, how to live my life for You from this day forward.”

Come and share your good news with us at Fresh Start Church! We love our new lives in Christ and want to show you how to enjoy yours to the fullest! If you want to talk to a pastor first, call (231) 347-0083.

 

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