“When it comes to something as important as where we are going to spend eternity, you and I better have something more reliable than man’s opinions…but where do we turn for an absolutely trustworthy answer?”
We turn to the only source, GOD’S Word the Bible. It begins with bad news, very bad news, but ends with very, very good news!
The Path to Heaven
The Problem: Sin
“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). God tells us that we have something that we inherited from the head of the human race, Adam: a sin nature. Did you ever see parents sit their children down and say “I want you to listen very carefully, I’m going to teach you several important lessons…I’m going to teach you how to lie, how to disobey your parents and how to fight with your brothers and sisters”.
No lessons needed in that department, kids know how to do that all on their own, from an amazingly early age. The lessons we have to teach them are how to tell the truth, how to obey, how not to fight; and the reason? Children are born with a sin nature, and that sin nature evidences itself by the fact that we continuously sin “and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The reality is that we are not sinners because we sin, but we sin because we are sinners!
God reinforces that in many other ways: we are “filled with all unrighteousness and ungodliness” (Romans 1:29); “there is none righteous, no, not one…there is none that does good, no, not one” (Romans 3:10-12); in Romans 5 we are referred to as “ungodly”, “sinners” and God’s “enemies” (Verses 6, 8 and 10).
The fact is that we are all guilty before a holy God! If you disagree with God that you are a sinner, then there’s no need to read any further, even though the next six points apply to us all.
The Penalty: Eternal Death
“The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23); “…by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned” (Romans 5:12); death, separation from God, for all eternity, in the lake of fire; hard to understand, hard to believe, but absolutely true nevertheless.
The Plan: Devised by God’s Love
This is where the good news begins, with God’s unconditional love for the ungodly, for sinners, for His enemies…for you and me! If human love has ever disappointed you or hurt you, God’s love never will. His love and affection for us is without limit, without change, without interruption.
“For God so loved the world…” (John 3:16); you’ve never known love like this; God, the greatest person in the universe, “so” loved…the greatest love that ever existed, “the world”…and that most certainly includes you and me; “that He gave His only begotten Son”…the greatest gift that has ever been given!
The Person: Christ
The plan of God which was devised by His love, revolved around God’s Son, Jesus Christ, presented in the Word of God as Creator of the universe, as the One in Whom all the attributes of God reside, the visible representation of the invisible God.
The Process: Christ’s Death For Us
God’s plan for us involved God doing the very hardest thing He ever did: sending His Son to die a most cruel death for us, as our substitute, paying for sins He didn’t commit but that you and I committed. He alone took the condemnation and judgment that we deserve, and was rejected by God the Father because He became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), shed His blood and gave His life…for us!
Can such love be ignored? Can such sacrifice go unnoticed? Can such provision be rejected?
The Provision: Salvation Provided by Believing the Gospel
I Corinthians 15:3-4. The good news is that through the shedding of Christ’s blood and His death on the cross God has made a complete and eternal provision for us, a salvation that is totally free to us because it was paid for by Christ. It is a salvation that comes to us by God’s grace, which is all that God is free to do for you and me because of what Christ accomplished on the cross. “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not as a result of (our) works…” (Ephesians 2:8-9). “Not by works of righteousness which we have done but by His mercy He saved us” (Titus 3:5). Our works and attempts at reaching and pleasing God are worthless to Him. Salvation is all of God. It is a gift to be received.
The Personal Response: Faith
“For by grace are you saved through faith…” (Ephesians 2:8). Faith is our response to God’s provision of salvation; it is ceasing any works, and “doings” of any kind (religious or otherwise) to get us into a right relationship with God and into heaven. Heaven is not for “good” people, it is for sinners who have trusted the work of Christ on the cross alone and exclusively for personal salvation. A man asked the apostle Paul “what must I do to be saved?” Paul responded clearly and definitively “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved…” (Acts 16:31; Romans 3:21-24).
And now the question to you: what are you trusting in to get you to heaven? If it’s anything other than what Christ did on the cross for you, God says you will not get to heaven. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved”.
My dear friend, the decision is yours to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and trust His work on the cross alone as the only provision for your salvation.