- Religion and Philosophy
How to Get to Heaven in Christianity
Seeing pictures and video of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy breaks my heart. It is so sad to see all of the people’s lives that have been upended from this tragedy. The other thing that comes to my mind is all of the people that lost their lives and either entered into heaven or hell. A few weeks ago, I went to a men’s retreat at Camp Barakel in northern Michigan where Tom Harmon, said “life is short, death is certain; know where you are going when you die.” Hurricane Sandy or any tragedy is an important reminder of how short life can be. Even if we live until we are 100 years old, life will go by in a blur. The question that we all need to think about is where are we going to spend eternity? Will it be with God in heaven or eternally separated from God in hell? Before we can look at how to get into heaven, we need to take a look at who God is and what his standards are.
Attributes of God
Who is God?
God is so much bigger and higher than we can ever imagine. He is present everywhere, knows everything, and is all-powerful. God is also eternal with no beginning or ending. There are not enough words to describe His awesomeness.
“I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.” Isaiah 6:1
“And among the lampstands was someone ‘like a son of man,’ dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand were seven stars (angels), and out of his mouth came a sharp-double edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.” Revelations 1:13-16
Let us look more closely at two of God’s attributes.
God is Holy
God is holy and the epitome of perfection. Holiness is the only attribute of God to be repeated three times in a row to show how important it is. What does it mean to be holy? According to Merriam-Webster.com it means to be “exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness.” God is complete perfection and worthy of our devotion. His standard for us is holiness.
“I am the LORD your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.” Leviticus 11:44
“Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 20:7
God is Love
We celebrate two major holidays that are focused on God’s love, Christmas and Easter. At Christmas, we celebrate God leaving heaven and coming to earth as an innocent baby. At Easter, we celebrate His brutal death and resurrection from the dead.
“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
“Just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.” John 10:15
God's Plan of Salvation
Now that we have taken a look at who God is, we can begin to look at how do we get into heaven. Take a walk with me down the Romans Road. It is called that because all of the main verses that I will quote are written in the book of Romans.
All Have Sinned
Let me start by defining sin as any word, thought, or deed that is contrary to the will of God. Sin entered the world in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. She listened to the serpent (Satan) as he explained to her that she would be like God if she ate of it. It was their pride and arrogance of wanting to be like God that brought sin into the world. Sin has plagued the world ever since. The Bible is clear that everyone of us are guilty of sin.
“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away; they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Romans 3:10-12
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.” Romans 5:12
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.” Ephesians 2:1
The Consequences of Sin
God is slow to anger and longs that everyone comes to salvation. The consequences of rejecting His plan of salvation are very clear. He is merciful and patient, but He will punish sin. In fact, the Bible says that we are appointed once to die and then we will face judgment.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.” Romans 6:23
“If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go to hell, where the fire never goes out.” Mark 9:43
“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” Isaiah 59:2
“God judges by what is right, and God is always ready to punish the wicked.” Psalm 7:11 (NCV)
God’s Solution: Jesus Christ
If we are all sinners and the consequences of sin are eternal separation from God in hell, how then can we get to heaven? Can we get there by doing good works?
“All of us have become like one who is unclean and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” Isaiah 64:6
“For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith—and this not of yourselves, it is a gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
We can never be good enough to reach God’s holy standards. If you take the best person among us, they may be way ahead of you and me in goodness; however, they are nowhere close to obtaining God’s standards. God loves you and me so much that he sent Jesus to earth as a baby. He was born of a virgin, which is important because sin is passed down through the seed of man. Jesus lived a perfect life. He was brutally beaten and crucified on a Roman cross. Three days later, He rose again.
“God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
“That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
“He was given over because of our transgressions and was raised for the sake of our justification.” Romans 4:25
God offers salvation as a gift to anyone who wants it. It is the simplest thing in the world. Simple enough that even a child can understand it. Too many people try to over complicate it. It takes childlike faith to be saved. We need to repent of our sins, confess with our mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, and put our faith in Jesus to save us.
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13
“That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” John 3:36
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Acts 3:19
Why Christ is the only way to God - R.C. Sproul
Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior?
How to Accept Jesus Christ as Your Savior
If you want to accept God’s gift of salvation, pray a prayer like this:
Dear Lord Jesus, I confess that I am a sinner and am in need of a savior. Please forgive me for all of my sins. I accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and personal Savior. I place my faith in Jesus and Jesus alone to save me. Thank you for saving me. Amen.
Mean it with all of your heart and you will be saved. I urge you to put your faith in Christ. I have been saved for over 30 years and can testify to God’s faithfulness. Trusting Christ will not take all of your problems away, but God will be with you and will sustain you. I can truly agree with the Apostle Paul, for me to live is Christ and to die is gain (heaven).