Most people want to go to heaven, hope to go to heaven. But does anyone really know for sure how to get there?
Popular opinion suggests that most people automatically go to heaven because most people are basically good. But are they? And how good is good enough for heaven? A majority might agree that Adolf Hitler was not good enough. What about people who have never even tried to kill anyone (even if they may have damaged a reputation or two)? What about those who remain faithful to their marriage partner (even if they sometimes fantasize about infidelity)? Most people consider themselves worthy of heaven because they abide by their own standard of “goodness,” and although they admit to some faults, they believe their good outweighs their bad.
However, this biblical truth penetrates each person’s conscience: “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure” (Jeremiah 17:9). Resentment constitutes murder in our hearts. Entertaining lust is tantamount to adultery (Matthew 5:21-28). No one measures up to the divine standard of goodness (Romans 3:23; James 2: 10, 11). “There is no one who does good, not even one” (Romans 3:12). All human beings have raised their collective fists at God and spurned his authority. Such rebellion demands justice. So what would a holy and just God do? Compromise? Grade on the curve? Rightly condemn every human being to hell? Is there any answer to this dilemma, or are we left to wonder, wishing the best for ourselves and the people we care about?
God’s Word says that He provided a way to heaven that satisfies His justice and demonstrates His perfect love. Knowing we would never meet His holy standard, He came to Earth in the person of Jesus Christ to make up the shortfall for us. Jesus fully measured up to moral perfection, and thus He was uniquely qualified to make full atonement for human sin through His death on the cross. Our loving God justly and mercifully accepted Christ’s death as the complete payment for His rebellious creatures’ sin. As an offer of proof, Christ arose bodily from the dead.
No one deserves it, but all who place their trust in God and His righteousness, rather than in their own, receive this gift of pardon and the promise of eternal life with Him. Any and every person who receives this gift by faith can be assured of heaven, not because of anything he/she has done but because of what Christ has done. God is pleased with us because He is pleased with Christ. When we embrace (with heart, soul, mind, and strength) God’s free offer of forgiveness, He enters our life and begins to transform us from the inside out, preparing us for heaven starting now.
You can begin this journey by making a deliberate choice to trust in what God says. Often people do this by talking to God directly, which is prayer. If you would like help with what to say, see the last paragraph of this article for some suggested words. Find a place of worship and fellowship with other Christians who can walk beside you in your new relationship with Jesus Christ—and where you can begin to discover your unique role in His family. Consider linking up with one of our chapters, if there is one near you. We at Reasons To Believe want to encourage your spiritual growth in whatever ways we can.
Adapted from Journey To Truth (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1993), p. 362.
“God in heaven, I know I have broken your perfect law and I have no power on my own to keep it. I need your gracious gift of forgiveness, and by the faith you provide I accept it. Please come into my life and make me Yours. I commit myself to learn of You and from You. I want nothing more than to fulfill Your purposes for my life. I trust You to make that possible. Thank you for the promise of heaven. I believe it and receive it based on the fact of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.”