Will you go to Heaven?
Are you a good person? Good enough to go to Heaven? Most people seem to think that all good people go to heaven and most bad people go to hell. Is that true?
Even though many people think that all good people go to heaven, most of us differ on what we consider to be “good.” The Bible says that God is good and it also teaches us what God’s standard of goodness is (Mark 10:17-18, John 12:48).
So, let me ask you just a few questions and we will see if you and I are good enough to go to Heaven. I’m not trying to be some self righteous judge. I had to ask myself these very same questions. I’ll let you in on a little secret, I didn’t do so well.
- How many lies have you told in your life? If you are like me it is more than you would like to admit. What do you call someone who tells lies? A liar.
- Have you ever stolen anything; it doesn’t matter how small or insignificant? What about the music/movies you downloaded or copied illegally? Guilty again. What do you call someone who steals? A thief.
- Have you ever hated anyone, even for a short time? How about the person who stole your girlfriend/boyfriend in high school? What about your unreasonable parents when you were a rebellious teenager? God considers hatred to be murder (1 John 3:15). What do you call someone who murders? A murderer.
- Have you ever looked at woman or a man with lust? Jesus said, “Whoever looks upon a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28). What do you call someone who commits adultery? An adulterer.
Remember, I’m not judging you. I’m guilty too! So, probably by your own admission you’re a lying, thieving, murderer and adulterer at heart. Ouch!
The Bad News
Listen to what the Bible says about people like that:
“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators (people who have sex before marriage), nor idolaters, nor adulterers nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God (i.e. not go to heaven)” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).
“But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).
Do you still think you are good enough to go to Heaven? If Jesus judged you according to His standards (John 12:48) would you be innocent or guilty? Would you go to Heaven or Hell, according to Jesus’ standards?
Maybe you think that you should go to heaven because you have done more good than evil. Would that work in a court of law for a murderer or rapist? “Judge, I know I raped and killed that woman, but that was only one person. I have helped dozens of other people. You should let me go.” If the judge let him go on those grounds, what kind of judge would he be? No matter how much good he has done he is still guilty of the crimes he committed.
Maybe you think that because God is good He will overlook your sins. It is His goodness that will make sure that murderers, adulterers, thieves, liars, etc. receive justice. God would be a corrupt judge if He turned a blind eye to injustice. God is good and will judge righteously and impartially (Acts 17:30-31; Romans 2:11).
So, that sounds like pretty bad news. If you care at all for your soul it should sound very much like bad news, because it is. But there is good news…
The Good News
God Himself made a way for His goodness and His justice to be met while at the same time giving us a way to heaven. We broke God’s Law, but He became a man, Jesus Christ, to take our punishment. Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, lived a sinless life and suffered and died on the cross to satisfy God’s wrath. While we were sinners and enemies of God, Jesus died for us (Romans 5:8-10). Through Jesus, God can forgive us and grant us the gift of eternal life!
You cannot earn this gift (Ephesians 2:8), but you must accept it on His terms.
How to accept God’s gift of eternal life.
1. Hear the Gospel (Romans 10:7; John 8:32). This should seem pretty obvious. No one would do anything that God required without first hearing about it. But, it needs to be said because there are some who think that people will be saved even if they never hear about Jesus. That is not what the Bible teaches. In order to be saved you must hear the Gospel, meaning the Good News. You can hear the Good News at the following places:
- ESV Bible: Read and listen to the Bible online.
- Faith Comes by Hearing: Download a free audio Bible.
- World Bible School: Study the Bible online for free.
- Church ZIP: Find a good church near you.
However, hearing the Gospel is not enough to save anyone. Just like hearing about chemotherapy is not enough to cure cancer.
2. Believe the Gospel (Hebrews 11:16; John 20:31). Again this should be obvious. No one follows the information they receive unless they believe it. Belief has the idea of trust as well. Do you believe and trust the Good News about Jesus?
Once again it must be pointed out that belief is not enough either. Just like believing and trusting in chemotherapy will not cure cancer. You must follow through with the treatment.
3. Repent of past sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30). Sin is simply a violation of God’s law. Becoming a Christian requires a complete 180º turn, away from a life of sin (violating God’s law) to a life of righteousness. The Bible calls this act repentance. The word repentance literally means “a change of mind and of action.”
Back to our chemotherapy illustration. Once a person hears about chemotherapy and believes it is a true therapy for cancer if he wants it he must change his mind and actions concerning it. He must take action to receive the treatment. However, just like changing your mind and taking initial action won’t cure cancer neither will repentance alone save the sinner.
4. Confess faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 10:10; Matthew 10:32). God requires public acknowledgement of our faith in Jesus Christ. Just as the hospital will require some form of official acceptance of the treatment, most likely, a signature.
However, just as officially accepting the chemotherapy treatment won’t cure cancer neither will confession alone save the sinner. The treatment must actually be taken.
5. Be Baptized for the forgiveness of sins (Galatians 3:27; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38). Being baptized is the act of being immersed or dipped in water for the forgiveness of your sins. It is not having water poured or sprinkled on you.
While chemotherapy could be administered against a person’s will and his cancer cured that is not the case with baptism. The person being baptized must know what he is doing and why.
Nonetheless, it is not until the chemotherapy is properly administered that the cancer can be cured. Similarly, only after you are baptized are your sins forgiven and you may enter heaven.
Once baptized, you are saved and you would probably like to stay that way, just like a cancer survivor would like to stay in remission. So, we come to the final step.
6. Be faithful unto death (Revelation 2:10). It is possible for you to be saved at one point and then later turn back to your old life of sin and lose the salvation you once had (2 Peter 2:20-21; Galatians 5:4).
No one wants this to happen to you. Get yourself in a good church, read your Bible every day and do what is says.