Which of the following due you think will get you to heaven or which of them are you counting on to get you to heaven?
- Keeping the 10 commandments
- Being good
- Doing good works, such as being nice to people, obeying the Golden Rule, going to church, giving money to the church and other worth while charitable causes, etc.
- If your good works outweigh your bad works
- Water baptism
- Holy communion
- Raised in a Christian family
- Believe in God
- Believe in Jesus
- Ask Jesus into your heart
- Follow Jesus
If you picked any of the above, you are not going to heaven. You may be thinking that it is impossible to get to heaven. It IS impossible in your own strength. Read on and it will be explained.
In Romans 3:10 it says:
“As it is written, there is none righteous, no not one.”
What does it mean to be righteous? It means to be perfect like God, not just good. After all, Jesus Christ said in Matthew 19:17 “…there is none good but One, that is, God…”. Does that not rule out every human being?
Romans 3:23 states:
“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”
Since ALL of us have fallen short, than what is it that we truly deserve?
“For the wages of sin is death…”
Wages are something we work for, something we have earned. God says that what we have earned is death. This is the second death mentioned in Revelation 20:14-15 which is eternal separation from God.
“And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
You may be thinking that it sounds hopeless, that no one can get to heaven. In a sense, you are right. No one can get to heaven in their own strength. Now for the good news. Let’s see what the rest of Romans 6:23 says:
“For the wages of sin is death, BUT the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Did you catch that? Eternal life is a GIFT. Can this be true? Let’s look at some other verses.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Being saved is the same as having eternal life.
“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
Being justified means to be declared righteous, which is the same as being saved. So we see in two more verses, that it is not by our works. Instead it is by faith, or by believing, “on Him”. What does it mean to believe “on Him”? We’ll get there shortly, but first a couple of more verses.
“But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
II Corinthians 5:21
“For He (God) hath made Him (Jesus Christ) to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”
“Who (Jesus Christ) was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”
When Jesus Christ, who was the Son of God and thus perfect (“Who knew no sin”), went to the cross, God the Father placed all of your sins on Him. Jesus Christ paid the price that we deserve, which is death. He took OUR penalty on the cross. Why? Because He loved us. God hates sin but He loves the sinner. And then to show that God the Father was satisfied with His Son’s sacrifice on our behalf, He raised Him from the dead so we could be justified, or declared righteous.
Now back to a previous question as to what does it mean to believe on Christ, or to have faith in Him, and thus to be saved and have eternal life. It means to place our trust in the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross as payment for your sins so that you too can be declared righteous, or holy, in God’s site.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hat raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
After Jesus Christ died on the cross, He was buried in a tomb. To show that God the Father was satisfied with His Son’s payment on the cross for your sins, God raised Him from the dead. Notice that it says that we must believe with our heart (i.e., to trust), NOT our head. What is the difference you ask?
Let me illustrate the difference using a story. Once upon a time, a man walked across Niagra Falls on a tight rope. When he arrived at the other side, the crowd was cheering. He then asked the crowd if they believed he could carry someone back to the other side with him. The crowd said yes. So the man ask a gentleman there if he could carry him back. The man said no. The tight-rope walker asked someone else and they said no. Finally a little boy said that he could carry him back across. So the little boy got unto the back of the tight-rope walker and successfully carried the boy to the other side. The little boy believed, or trusted, with his heart while everyone else believed with their head.Jesus Christ was like that tight-rope walker. He came to the other side (the side of the human race) to take us back to His home in heaven. But He can only do that if we truly trust in the sacrifice He made on the cross for us through His shed blood. Won’t you make that decision right now to trust what He has done on the cross for you?
If you have made that decision, you may want to pray to God to thank Him for the gift of eternal life that He has provided for you. You may want to use the following prayer as a guide. But remember, the prayer does not save you. What saves you is trusting in the gospel, or good news, of what Jesus Christ did on the cross for you.
I know that I am a sinner, and, as such, deserve death. I know that I cannot earn eternal life or work my way to heaven. But I believe that your Son, Jesus Christ, died for my sins on the cross and paid my debt so that I can have eternal life as a free gift. I believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead for my justification. I have decided to trust in Him as my Savior and receive that gift. Thank you for dying for me and for your free gift of eternal life.
In Jesus’ name, Amen