How to Gain Heaven?
How can I go to Heaven? This is the question we want to address today! We could further ask, Just how good, is good enough, to enter Heaven? What’s it take? What is it that God requires? What will God say when He opens the books in respect to your life? What will your history look like? How will it read? Are you comfortable with that? What do you think God, who is perfectly holy, will say to you? What judgement will He give to you? Listen, I want the absolute best outcome possible for you, and that is why I’m taking the time to address you today! So let us see the marvellous message God has for you now!
Many of us have become discouraged. We have feelings of guilt within. We feel like we just can’t be good enough. Perhaps we feel like there is no hope at all! Yet, we so desperately want to be free from this “dark cloud.” We want to know that we are loved and accepted. Let me then explain how we can come to the place where we are indeed free from this awfulness! For I also have come from such a place, but have come to have “rest,” joy, and peace!
Oh, to you, I don’t need to convince that you are sinners, you already know it all too well! You just would, to be free from the heavy burden you carry about day and night! Perhaps you’ve tried so many things to find your freedom, but still all remains as ever before! This is a most disheartening experience! One might even go so far as to throw into question whether God even cares! Whether He actually loves us! Well, He certainly does love you, and let me show you how.
You see, God is not surprised at your failures. In fact, God doesn’t even expect you to be able to live a holy life like He requires! Know then, that God is not asking you to turn from all your sin so that He will accept you. No, that is not God’s plan at all! His plan is far greater than this!
Ever look up into the sky on a clear night? Did you not behold a myriad stars twinkling? What about the sun, shining in all its resplendent glory? What of the birds singing songs of melodious melody? Perhaps the delicate beauty of the flowers in astonishing variety, has captivated your eyes! Ever wonder in amazement at how all these things work together so intricately as one marvellous orchestra? Yes, this is the very same God who has drawn up salvation’s plan! Indeed, it is called, “good news”! Let us see what makes this “good news,” so good!
Oh, we ought to know, we can never be holy like God. We know we sin. We feel the guilt and shame. Know this then, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”! (1 Timothy 1:15) Are you a sinner? Then Jesus came to save you! It is not you who does the saving by trying to be a good person! For Jesus did not come to save “good people,” but sinners! He came to save bad people! Indeed, of God Most High, we read, “He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God…You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told!” (Psalm 40:2-3, 5)
What Jesus Did for You!
First, let us hear the gospel in a “nutshell,” “The gospel [good news]…that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
So then, Jesus makes no demands that we “follow in His steps,” to gain eternal life. This would be an entirely impossible feat! For He is God, and we are not. No, Jesus came to save us, because we could do nothing to save ourselves! He didn’t come to live a good life for us to follow His pattern. For, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) In fact, “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” (~Isaiah 64:6) No, you see Jesus came as the Savior! That is, He came to save you and I! How? He went to the cross with the purpose of bearing the wrath of God that was due your and my sin! As He hung there for three hours – three dark hours – the wrath of God was being poured out upon His beloved Son! This is why Jesus cried out from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) Ah, because God saw upon Jesus all the terribleness of our sin – even yours – all of it! There, some 2000 years ago, He bore the sentence of death for you, for your sin! There the innocent One died, for us the guilty ones!
Indeed, this one death, was 100% sufficient to save you and I! For God says to those who are solely counting on Christ to save them, “We have been sanctified [made holy] through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10)
So we see that Christ fully paid the penalty of all of our sin. There is nothing left owing. For Jesus said from the cross, “It is finished.” (John 19:30) Yes, Jesus fully exhausted the wrath of God, for all of your sin, approximately 2000 years ago! Yet, what about righteousness? How can we be as righteous as God Himself so that we can enter God’s holy Heaven? This is how, and it is not by what self does either! Much rather we read, “Much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:17) Yes, God took your sin and placed it all upon His dearly beloved Son, and on the awful cross, He took the wrath of God for you. However, in the most astounding exchange, Christ’s righteousness is granted to you! This is the only righteousness that will make you acceptable in the grand courts of Heaven above!
Does this mean all people are saved? No, for we must count solely on what God has done for us through Christ, in order to be saved! Only then, will your sins be paid in full and Christ’s righteousness be credited to you! For it is written, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only [uniquely born] Son of God.” (John 3:17)
So, what happens if one hears the good news and ignores or rejects it, and goes “on sinning deliberately”? It reads that a, “Fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries,” is all that remains! (Hebrews 10:26-27) Why? They have rejected the one way of salvation, the “sacrifice for sins.” (Hebrews 10:26)
Yet this is most unnecessary, for God has already sent the Savior to be your substitute, to take your place, your punishment! God has provided the way of escape! Why not avail yourself of God’s offer of salvation now, and know that you have eternal life and that your citizenship is in Heaven?! For we read, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13)
Oh, don’t let another dark cloud of doubt cross your skies! Count, not on your feelings, but upon God’s holy Word! For it is promised by the God who cannot lie, that “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
Indeed, the “good news” is so much more than just getting to go to Heaven! Jesus becomes your victory! He becomes your strength! He becomes your ability! He comes to live His life through you! Yes, Jesus sets us free from beings slaves of sin; we become redeemed ones! What a wondrous gospel it is! What an incredible Savior we have!
I pray, I’ll see you in Heaven!
Victor J. Reimer
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Photo credit: “Heavenly Light” by Kevin Armstrong
*Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV), copyrighted © 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.