There’s an old joke about two hunters in the woods being chased by a bear. One hunter yells out to the other as he runs past, “I don’t have to be faster than the bear, I just have to beat you!” Unfortunately, most people think the same is true about gaining entrance to heaven. Just do better than the others, be good and it will all work out fine.
The problem this presents is:
Who says how much goodness is required?
Who is keeping score?
And at any given moment, how can I know where I stand?
Does that mean as long as we are better than Adolf Hitler or Attila the Hun we’ve got a shot? But what if we have to be as good as a Mother Theresa or Billy Graham? Okay, maybe our chances aren’t as good.
The Bible goes to the real issue with God and sets it straight for us. None of us deserves to go to Heaven because we are all sinners. Think about this…the designer and creator of the universe (God) also made the rules and the way for salvation because He knew we would sin, and no matter how hard we try we would never reach perfection. Yes, we can be pretty good, but our being good doesn’t result in purity and holiness. With God it’s not just how bad we are, it’s how good we’re not. Romans 3:23 tells us, “Everyone has sinned. No one measures up to God’s glory.” There is no way, through our own “goodness” that we can ever stand in front of a Holy God. We tend to rank sins, but God says sin is sin. Sometimes that doesn’t sound fair. Don’t all the “good” people deserve to go to Heaven? Then again who defines fair and what makes one deserving? Even Jesus said no one is good except God alone (Mark 10:18). Hmm, okay, this is getting a little tougher.
So, how do you know you can get into Heaven? God didn’t make it difficult for us. God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son. Whoever puts his trust in God’s Son will not be lost but will have life that lasts forever (John 3:16). Jesus willingly sacrificed His sinless life through dying on the cross for our sins. Three days after the death of Jesus Christ, He rose again and because Jesus triumphed over death, hell, and the grave, He holds the keys to eternal life. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Because of the sacrifice made by Jesus Christ, He gave us the way to have a relationship with our holy and pure God. What do you do? The apostle Paul put it pretty plainly, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (Romans 10:9-10).
There are not a long list of things you had to do before you can be forgiven. It was all done for you. That is grace–God giving us something we need but don’t deserve. We cannot measure up to God’s goodness, but we can give up and accept Jesus as our Savior, and when we do, the cross bridges the gap, the door is opened, and we can stand clothed in the Holy righteousness of Jesus Christ — “I am the door, and the person who enters through me will be saved…” (John 10:9).
Will you pray this simple prayer from your heart acknowledging His death for your salvation? “Lord Jesus, I’m the sinner you came to save and I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Please take control of my life and make me the kind of person You want me to be.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
True Christianity is life-changing and life-altering. Your new life is being changed from the inside out. In following and obedience, you will find more life (here now and forever) than you can imagine. Now that you belong to Jesus, He wants to live His life though you. The God who made you, loves you more than anyone ever could or will, wants the world to see His Son living in you. Sounds like a great deal to me!
The One who wants to be with you forever and loves you with an unfailing love. A personal relationship with Jesus Christ is a spark that cannot be extinguished, a safe harbor in the storms of life, hope and peace that never ends, joy midst sorrow, and life everlasting.
What’s next? Find a good Bible-teaching church and when you feel it’s time, talk to your pastor about being baptized. Begin to share with others what has taken place in your life, and take time to pray (talk with God). Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27). Christianity is a personal relationship with the Creator and lover of your soul.
Now you’re fit for Heaven and believe me, it won’t be a place where we sit around with little angel wings bored to tears playing harps. Heaven is a vibrant, exciting, peaceful, ecstatic place of fellowship, love, and never-ending joy.
“But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”~ Ephesians 2:4-9