December 28, 2015

How Can I Go to Heaven?

How Can I Go to Heaven?
Ever wonder how you can know that you can go to Heaven when life's journey is over? Do you ever think about how good you would have to be to enter God's Heaven? Does this thought ever cross your mind, “Have I done enough good?” Or, perhaps your thinking goes something like this, “I'm such a bad person. If God knows all I've done, I don't have a chance!” On the other hand, you may confidently say, “I'm a pretty good person, God will let me in already. No problem!” Now, just wait a sec! Don't you think we should see what God the owner of Heaven has to say? Let's take a look...

To begin with,
God says,
Enter by the narrow gate.
For the gate is wide and the way easy that leads to destruction,
and those who enter by it are many.
For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life,
and those who find it are few.”
Matthew 7:13-14


So then, to begin with, God says, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.” (James 2:10) In plain words, just like committing a theft, would make you a criminal. So violating even just one of God's rules, would make you a sinner by practice! The Bible is very straightforward, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) That is, all have fallen short of God's 100% holy standard by their sin. You see, God does not compare our holiness with other people – He compares us with Himself! The Bible also says, “None is righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10b) Neither is that by any means all that our Creator-God has to say as to this! He also says, “We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags.” (**Isaiah 64:6) Indeed, God has made His point, we are all sinners and totally helpless to save ourselves! For even the good we try to do, is seen by God as “filthy rags”!

Search as we might, there is not a single place in the Holy Bible that even eludes to the thinking that our good could outweigh the bad we've done. No, the reality is that sin always has consequences! Indeed, “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23)

You see, there was a group of people, known as the Pharisees who were Israelites. These were a sect from 515 bce to 70 ce. This was a group of people that tried to the best of human ability to obey God's laws. They did their utmost to do right and keep from doing wrong. This is well brought out in these verses, “He [Jesus] also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous...: Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.'” (Luke 18:9-12) Do you see how this person was relying on themselves in order to be acceptable before God? Yet, there was another man also praying. Of him we read, “But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!'” What verdict does Jesus Christ bring down here? He says, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:13-14) We see then, that the first man, spoke to God of how good he was. Yet, the second, did the very opposite. We notice then, that it was the one who thought he was good, that was not “justified,” that is cleared of his guilt. Rather, it was the second who acknowledged his guilt, that God “justified.”


Yet, perhaps, you think, “No, I'm just way too bad a person. You have no idea what I've all done!” Ah, maybe I don't, but God does! For we read, “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give an account.” (Hebrews 4:13) Look, God who knows all things, including you. Yet, God says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13) Are you included in the “everyone”? Of course! Then you are not too bad a sinner. In fact, it was exactly for such as you that Jesus came. For it is written, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners...” Not only that, but Paul the apostle who penned those words, ended that sentence by saying, “...of whom I am the foremost.” (1 Timothy 1:15) I ask then, are you a “sinner”? Well, then Jesus Christ came to save you!

The Sacrifices of a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God,
you will not despise.”
Psalm 51:17


We saw then, that our own “righteousness” will not help us get into Heaven. However, we also saw that no “sinner” is too bad, not be eligible for God to save them. Further, we saw, that one must approach God with the right “heart attitude.” We must come humbly, with a “contrite heart.” We can never boast to God about our righteousness. No. Rather, we must acknowledge that we are indeed sinners. Yet, just how are we to be saved? Let's see...

To start with, we read, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Maybe you wonder how one could save you by dying? Well, it is important to understand that, “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6;23) This “death” speaks of separation from God. We deserved to be separated from God for time and eternity for our sin. For it is our sin that separated us from the holy God. That is why, God in His great mercy, sent Jesus to die on the cross. There He died physically, but there was also a separation from His Father. For we read, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34) Ah, it was our sin, that caused this separation!

Understand then, that it was our sin that was heaped upon Jesus Christ as He hung on that dreadful cross! For it is written, “The LORD laid on him [Jesus Christ] the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6) All your sin, was laid on Christ, and He took the full wrath of God for your every sin. That is how Jesus Christ is able to save you! He took the death you should have taken. He took all the punishment, all the consequences for your sin, so that you could go free. Again, it is written, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) You see, it was an incredible transaction. All your sin-debt was taken by Christ and He paid it in full by His death, for such is the consequence of sin. However, in turn, Jesus Christ credited His righteousness to your account. Simply amazing!


So, if Jesus paid everyone's sin-debt, are all saved? No. Why? We must trust Him as our very own Saviour. We must believe, that He did this for even me! That is why we read, “For by grace [His favour] you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that on one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

So then, we can never better ourselves, and hope to get into Heaven by our “own doing.” No, only God has the remedy for our sin. We could not pay its price – death. That is why God the Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ to pay our sin-debt on the cross. That is why he died. It was the only remedy for us. Jesus Himself, took the consequence for our sin!

This is why so many miss the “narrow gate” that “leads to life.” So many people think that by their good, they can enter Heaven, but they are sadly mistaken. Oh yes, the “wide” road is “easy”! One can live like they please, but sin's consequences one will have to pay themselves, which is an eternity in Hell. How much better, to take the “hard” road that lead to “life,” and spend eternity in the bliss of Heaven!


What will be your choice? What will you do with the Jesus who died to pay the price for your sins? Which path will you take?
In this was manifested the love of God
toward us,
because God sent his only begotten Son
into the world,
that we
might live through him.
Herein is love,
not that we loved God,
but that he loved
and sent his Son to be
the propitiation [satisfaction] for
our sins.”
**1 John 4:9-10

Victor J. Reimer

*Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV), copyrighted © 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

No comments:

Post a Comment