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23

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Salvation

What Does It Take for a Person to Go to Heaven?

This is probably the most important question that anybody can ask or answer. Perhaps you’re struggling with how you would answer this question or maybe, you’ve never even thought about it before. The BIBLE is the key.

The easiest way to answer this question is with one word, F.A.I.T.H. Faith is an acronym that helps explain from the Bible how one can know for certain he/she is going to heaven.

F – The F stands for FORGIVENESS.

The Bible teaches that we cannot have eternal life without Gods forgiveness. It says, “In Him (meaning Jesus) we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” (Ephesians 1:7a) We all have one thing in common when it comes to eternal life, and that is that we have all sinned against God. In order for us to have eternal life, that sin must be forgiven.

A – The A stands for AVAILABLE.

 The great news is that the forgiveness needed is available for all. The Bible says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) There isn’t a person alive that God hasn’t offered His forgiveness to. It is truly available for all. 

However, it is NOT AUTOMATIC.

Some believe that because their parents were religious, or because they were born in a certain country that they are automatically forgiven from sin and deserving of heaven. One of the most common schools of thought says, “because I’m good or do good things, God will let me in.” Unfortunately, this is not true. The Bible says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matt. 7:21) It takes more than calling Him “Lord” or doing good things to go to heaven, and this leads us to the letter I.

I – The I stands for IMPOSSIBLE.

It is impossible for God to allow sin into heaven because of who He is. God is LOVE. As stated above, God so loved the world. But it is also true that God is JUST and that He will punish sin. The Bible says, “He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.” (Ex. 34:7) He will not allow one unforgiven sinner into His heaven.

But let’s examine who man is. The Bible says that man is a sinner. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Two thoughts are being communicated in this verse. One is that all have sinned. Without exception, every person has done wrong in the sight of God. Second is that everyone falls short. With this comes the idea that we continuously fall short. There’s never a day that we will be able to say, “Hey, I achieved the glory of God today. I didn’t fall short.” No, we all continuously fall short.

All of this presents us with a simple question, “How can a sinful person enter heaven, where God allows no sin?”

Great question.

Because we have sinned, we have earned a wage. The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death...” (Romans 6:23) Most are familiar with wages. We go to work, spend a certain amount of time there expecting to be paid for the time we’ve worked. We expect a wage. The Bible is clear in saying, “the wages of sin is death.”

This death is not just physical; it is spiritual as well. The wage earned from sinning is eternal separation from God. A separation without end and most tragically, without hope. The second part of the verse mentioned above says, “But the gift of God is eternal life.” (Romans 3:23b) God gave His Son to die in our place.

The picture above casts a powerful image of Christ’s death and its impact on humanity. Notice the hammer in the man’s hand. The stakes in the young boy’s hand, the looks on all of their faces. The reason why they are so troubled is because it was their sin that put Christ on the cross. The good news about that picture is that Christ is taking our place. We are the ones who are supposed to be on the cross, but Christ took our sin and our cross for us.

But as was said earlier, the forgiveness that Christ offers is not automatic. His death on the cross is not automatically applied to every person. The person who wants Christ’s offer of forgiveness must accept it by FAITH. The Bible says, “For by GRACE you have been saved and that not of yourselves, it is the give of God, not by works, lets any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)   In other words, it comes to one when he/she trusts that (a) they are a sinner, (b) cannot save themselves, (c) and trust that Christ’s payment was and remains sufficient to pay for their sins.

The love of Christ, his sacrifice in our place, and us accepting this by faith, brings about an action of turning. This brings us to the T. 

T – The T stands for Turning. 

If you were driving down the road and someone asked you to turn around, what would he or she be asking you to do? That’s right, change direction or make a U-turn. The word used for this in the Bible is “Repent.” Jesus asks all of those who accept Him by faith to repent, or to turn, from their sinful ways and follow Him.

Turn means to turn from something, which is sin and self, to someone who is Christ. Christ desires that you walk with Him and no longer in the ways of sin.

H – The H stands for Heaven. 

Heaven is eternal life. The Bible says that when we trust in Christ, we can have the assurance that we will spend an eternity with Him in heaven. But we do have a little heaven here on earth.

Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10b) Heaven is a place that those who believe in Christ will one day reside, but it begins now as Christ dwells with in us. His presence in our lives brings hope, reason, and purpose to the events that surround us.

Heaven is also hereafter. Jesus said, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:3) Those who have received forgiveness from their sin can rest assured that they will spend an eternity with Jesus in heaven.

How?

The next step is How. How can one receive this forgiveness and be assured that they will spend eternity in heaven. The first thing that comes to our mind is, “what do I have to do?” The answer is simple, repent & believe. Turn from your sin in repentance and believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sin, that He took your place, and that by placing your faith in Him, you can spend eternity with Him. In other words, accept Him by faith that what He said is true and what He did was for you.

You must be made aware that accepting Him as your Savior will come with some costs. Although Salvation is a gift to you, it did cost Him His very life. The love that He poured out on the cross for us is so great that we should respond to Him in obedience. Our lives should change. No longer are we to walk in rebellion. No longer are we to sin against Him. We are to live for Him, not against Him.

The word FAITH can also stand for a prayer that we would like to lead you through. It’s simple. “Forsaking All I Trust Him.” The words are not magical nor are they a secret formula. The importance lies in your heart. Do you believe what you have read and are you ready to turn your life over to Christ as your Savior?

This is the most important decision anybody can make and hopefully the facts above have been made clear.

If you would like to speak to somebody about beginning a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, please call 770-382-4778