Romans 3:23; 6:23, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God … For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”
A popular idea, according to opinion polls, is that good people go to heaven. And a majority of those polled see their own chances of going there to be good. Most people base their expectation of heaven on their performance in this life, irrespective of their relationship to Jesus Christ. So, is this a valid hope? Thus, we must look to the Bible, “God’s Eternal Word” for an authoritative answer. Scripture clearly tells us that a day is coming when evil will be punished and virtue rewarded. This will take place at the day of judgment. Those who in this life have not availed themselves of the only way of salvation through the grace of God and the atoning death of Jesus Christ will not enter the gates of heaven. The Word is unequivocal, “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lambs’ book of life” (Revelation 21:27). A living faith in Jesus Christ, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), is the sole condition for having our names written in that book. It’s our decision. We must recognize our need of forgiveness and put our faith in Christ as Redeemer and Savior.
When we were children, many of us had frustrated parents who asked us if we had really heard their reminder to finish an unwanted chore. We may have claimed to have heard, but our attitude and actions said otherwise. As you think about your own response to the gospel, have you heard it? If so, how have you responded to it? It’s easy to put off making a decision. And this becomes an even greater tendency when eternal consequences are at stake. But God wants us to make a decision about His Son. Are you on your way to heaven? Are you sure? As you think about your answers to these questions, consider the following categories:
(1) Sure but not secure. Some people believe that they have confirmed reservations in heaven because they expect God to accept them on the basis of their own good efforts. However, Jesus indicated that God accepts only those who admit they do not deserve His favor (Luke 18:9-14).
(2) Secure but not sure. Such a person has trusted Christ as Savior and is held firmly in the protective hand of God (John 10:27-29). But when failure occurs and guilt comes in like a flood, or when mental, physical, and emotional exhaustion set in, you become confused by feelings.
(3) Sure and secure. This person has accepted Christ as his/her Savior, has continued to walk in this new relationship, and enjoys the confirming evidence that signals the reality of new birth. This evidence is described in 1 John as:
(a) Belief in Christ’s saving work (4:9-10; 5:1).
(b) Confidence in the Word of God (2:4; 5:13).
(c) A new way of life (2:3-6).
(d) The awareness of the Spirit (4:13; 5:10).
(e) A love for other Christians (3:14).
The gospel is a simple but heart-penetrating truth. I sincerely trust that you are both sure and secure in Jesus Christ for your salvation. If not, I would urge you to make sure you have taken the first step. Recognize that there is nothing you can do to escape the penalty of your own sin – except to throw yourself on the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ, His death for your sins, and His saving life. Trust Him today for what you could never do for yourself, and then rely totally on God’s promises (John 3:16; 6:37; 10:27-30; Romans 6:23; 8:28-39). It can be expressed in a simple prayer like this:
Jesus, I know I’m a sinner and can’t save myself. Thank You for dying on the cross to pay the penalty of my sin. I receive You as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life and make me the kind of person You want me to be.
Did you pray that prayer? Were you sincere? If so, you can have the assurance that Jesus Christ has come into your life and given you the gift of eternal life (1 John 5:12-13). Can you think of anyone you’d like to share your new discovery with? Remember, there are people all around you who still haven’t heard the saving gospel of Jesus Christ.