Are You Going to Heaven?
My Bible teaching ministry necessitates a lot of travel, including speaking abroad several times a year. Even now, as I’m writing this article, I’m preparing for an international flight to Frankfurt, Germany. Every time I journey to a distant destination, I have a checklist of key things I need to accomplish before leaving and items I need to take with me on my trip. That’s especially true if I know I’ll be gone for an extended period of time.
Most important of all, I need to make sure I have my ticket ready and my passport. Without a ticket I can’t board the plane; without a valid passport I can’t enter the country. Last year, I ministered in Ireland, Costa Rica, Australia, Hong Kong, Germany, and England – and sure enough, in every situation, I needed my boarding ticket and passport to make the trip.
What about heaven? Making arrangements for your eternal trip to heaven begins with making sure you have the proper “passport” that will allow you entrance through the gates of glory into the presence of God.
2 Timothy 1:9 (NKJV) God saved us, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus.
No valid passport, means no entry into heaven. The only valid “document” that allows us entry into God’s presence for eternity is one that is stamped “SAVED” and it is given to us the moment we trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation and the forgiveness of sins (Romans 10:13).
The theological term for being saved is justified, which is the process by which sinful human beings are made acceptable to a holy God through the saving work of Christ at Calvary.
Romans 5:9 (AMP) Since we are now justified – acquitted, declared righteous, and brought into right relationship with God by Christ’s blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him.
Justified is a legal term signifying to acquit; to pronounce not guilty; to declare righteous. When God justifies, He does it based on the shed blood of the cross. He charges the sin of man to Christ and credits the righteousness of Christ to the believer (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Only God can justify; we cannot justify ourselves. He does so when He clothes the guilty sinner in the righteousness of Christ and then declares that person to be acceptable to Him because of Jesus. This is the only ticket and passport to heaven.
Romans 4:4-5 (TLB) Being saved is a gift; if a person could earn it by being good, then it wouldn’t be free – but it is! It is given to those who do not work for it. For God declares sinners to be right in His sight if they have faith in Christ to save them from God’s wrath.
Trusting in Christ’s death on the cross to save you from the eternal consequences of your sins is not just one way to heaven – it is the only way to heaven (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).
Why Should God Let You In?
Are you saved? Are you born again? Have you received the gift of eternal life? Are you certain that if you were to die today, you would go to heaven? If you were to stand before God – and everyone will – and suppose He were to ask you this one question, “Why should I let you into my heaven?” How would you respond, what would you say?
John 17:3 (NIV) Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.
Based upon my thirty years of ministry, and in conversations from people from all walks of life, here are some of the most common answers I get to the big question, “Why should God let you into heaven?”
- “I was baptized in the church.”
- “I’m an honest person.”
- “Don’t all good people go to heaven?”
- “I’m a Baptist.”
- “I’m a Catholic.”
- “I believe in being a good neighbor and helping others.”
- “I believe in God, but my religion is private.”
- “I’m not a bad person, I won’t go to hell.”
- “I give money to the poor and needy, and I help feed the homeless.”
- “I try hard to live by the Ten Commandments.”
- “I was baptized in the church.”
- “I’m a church member.”
- “I have been confirmed.”
- “I always try to be good and kind to people.”
- “What about natives in the jungle who have never heard about Jesus?”
- “I was brought up in a Christian home.”
- “The church is filled with hypocrites, and I’m better than those folks.”
- “All preachers want is your money.”
- “I’ve always tried to live a good life and help others.”
- “I’ve always tried to be the best I can be.”
- “I believe that all roads lead to heaven.”
- “I am a sincere person.”
- “I’ve done many good things that prove I’m a good person.”
- “How can a loving God send anyone to hell?”
- “I give money to the church and the Salvation Army.”
- “I’ve given support to several charities and missionaries.”
- “I sing in the church choir.”
- “Why doesn’t God do something about all the evil and suffering in the world?”
- “Before I go to sleep I read the family Bible and say a prayer.”
- “I try to keep the golden rule and live by the Sermon on the Mount.”
- “I’ve always believed in the teachings of Jesus.”
- “Heaven is for real, but hell doesn’t exist.”
- “I go to church for my weekly inspiration.”
- “I go to church at Christmas and Easter.”
- “I’m a Mormon.”
- “I often meditate in the mornings.”
- “I love God, and He knows all the good things I’ve done.”
- “Nobody’s perfect, and God understands that.”
- “We’re all God’s children.”
- “Regardless of their religion, I believe everyone goes to heaven.”
If any or all of these possible answers are your response… then you are definitely not saved and you are not a Christian. This is because what you believe does not agree with the Bible and you are trusting in the good things you have done.
The truth is that according to the Bible we don’t automatically go to heaven when we die. In fact, HELL – not heaven – is our default destination. Heaven is the destination that awaits only those who are born again and have put their trust in Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.
Transformational truth: The good news of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone is the only way anyone can escape hell and enter heaven.
Your Passport to Heaven
There are two possible destinations when we die: heaven or hell. Can we really know in advance where we’ll go? According to the Bible, the answer is YES! We can know for sure that we’ll go to heaven when we die.
1 John 5:11-12 (ESV) And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
John 3:36 (NIV) Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.
Many people think they can find God, and salvation, any number of ways. One God, many paths, they say. You just have to find the right one that works for you. This is a false and dangerous belief, because those are all roads that go nowhere near heaven. Worse, they lead straight to hell.
Just like the road from New York to Chicago won’t lead to Miami, there’s only one way that leads to heaven – through Jesus Christ (John 14:6). Jesus declared: “I am THE way.” Jesus does not merely show the way; He is the only way to God.
How can I know for sure? Have you personally received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? You can make sure that your passport into heaven is valid by following these simple ABC steps and committing your life to Christ…
1: AGREE with God that you are a lost sinner unable to save yourself. “God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
2: BELIEVE the gospel “good news” that Jesus Christ died for your sins on the cross. Surrender to Him and personally receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior. “To all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).
3: CONFESS Jesus Christ as Lord. “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
Embrace the gospel and invite Jesus Christ into your life today by praying this prayer in faith…
“Lord Jesus, I am thankful that You died for me on the cross and rose from the dead. I come to You as a sinner in need of Your forgiveness and salvation. I know there is nothing that I can ever do to save myself or to work my way into heaven. I now take You at Your Word in John 3:16 and Romans 10:13 and put my complete trust in the gospel and what You did for me at the cross.
Right here, right now, I make the decision to turn from my sins and receive You into my life as my Lord and Savior. Today, and for the rest of my life, I ask that You help me to live in a way that pleases You. Guide my life according to Your Word and teach me to walk in Your ways. Thank You for saving me. Amen!”
If you prayed that prayer, contact us, we’d love to hear about your decision for Christ. Also, take the next few steps… Begin to read the Bible every day, a good place to start is the Gospel of John. Next, talk to God by praying every day. Next, find a solid Bible-believing, Bible-preaching church in your area where Christ is honored, and get plugged in to that church.