Monday, January 30, 2006
WHAT MUST I DO TO GET TO HEAVEN?
Many people believe that at the end of their life, God will judge their works. If the good outweighs the bad, then they are accepted into heaven. Many people, when asked why they are going to heaven, quickly point out that they have never murdered anyone. They compare themselves to other people.
Is this thought correct? Does the Bible teach that we can make it to heaven on our own merit?
The Bible tells us that God is perfect, He is holy and blameless. It also tells us that we are not. We have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. Everyone of us has done something wrong. Over the course of our lifetime, we have all told lies. We have stolen or cheated. We have gossiped or approved gossip. We have lusted after people or coveted material possessions. When you start thinking about all of the sins we have committed, can we really say with a straight face, "I'm a good person"? Of course not.
The Bible says that we are condemned through the sin of Adam. Everyone of us has sinned and we are not worthy of heaven.
Under the law, God accepted animal sacrifices as a temporary covering for their sins. We know it was temporary, because every year they would have to sacrifice another animal. The Bible also teaches us that the blood of animals cannot take away the sins of the world.
We see the ultimate sacrifice through the Son fo God, the Lord Jesus Christ. This death was prophesied over 1000 years before Jesus Christ. In fact, we see over 30 direct prophecies about Jesus Christ. All of these were fulfilled literally. It was not coincidence. It was not dumb luck. Jesus died and rose again on the 3rd day.
The next question is this: If Jesus died for the sins of the world, then isn't everyone saved? God gives us the opportunity for salvation. He provided the way for mankind to achieve heaven. And the Bible says it's not by our works, but by His Grace upon our faith.
Many people think they are going to heaven because they go to church. They think that water baptism has saved them (or even confirmed them). They think that circumcision or following the law can save them. We see that salvation has always been by grace through faith. We see this with two specific people.
1) The thief on the cross did not have time to go down and be water baptize nor did he have time to do any good works. Yet Jesus told him that he would be with Jesus that day in paradise.
2) The jailer in Acts 16:31 asks Paul what he must do to be saved. Paul did not respond with a
) let me check and see if you were elected,
b) umm you need to be water baptized before you can become saved
c) have you been circumcised yet? (did he check?),
d) NO, he responded with this simple statement: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.
I tell you the same thing: If you want to go to heaven, if you want to have confidence in eternal life...."Believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross, that he was buried, and that he rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures. The moment of true belief, the Bible says that the Holy Spirit seals you, baptizes you into the Body of Christ, circumcises your heart, indwells you...etc. The moment you believe, you are a child of God, not based on your works, but based upon the faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
It is the best choice you could ever make!