I want to go to Heaven someday, but is there anything special I need to do to get there? What kind of person do I need to be? Can anyone go to Heaven if they are just good people?
Maybe you’ve asked yourself these questions or similar ones. Let’s study the Bible together and find out the answers.
In the beginning
In the beginning of time, God walked and talked personally with man. God wanted to live peacefully with man and all that He created. From the beginning, God intended for man to live forever with Him. Genesis 3:2-3 says, The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘you shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’”
If man had eaten the fruit from the Tree of Life before the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, man would have lived forever, as Genesis 3:22 tells us, “Then the Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the Tree of Life, and eat, and live forever.’”
Separation from God
What went wrong? Isaiah 59:2 says, “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.” Our sins and iniquities have separated us from God.
There are consequences of that sin. Romans 5:10 says, “For while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled we shall be saved by His life.” We have become separated from God and need to be reconciled to Him.
God says in Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death. Wages are earned. They are not a free gift. Just like whenever we have a job and receive our paycheck—we earned it. When we sin, we earn a spiritual death, which is a separation from God. All of us have sinned, and we all deserve to die. I cannot die for you and you can’t die for me, since we all deserve to die for our own sins.
Separation from sin
God doesn’t want anyone to die spiritually, as Second Peter 3:9 says, “ The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish [die] but for all to come to repentance.” God is the righteous judge, and for me to be saved, God must find a way to separate me from my sin. That way is Jesus!
Second Corinthians 5:21 says, “He [God] made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” When did Jesus become sin for us? Jesus took up our sin and became sin on the cross. First John 2:2 says, “And He Himself is the sacrifice for our sins, and not ours only but also for the whole world.”
Since Jesus became sin, He had to become separated from God, because God and sin cannot be together. Matthew 27:46, “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” God saw His precious Son suffering, but He had to walk away, because God cannot be with sin, which Jesus was bearing on the cross for us.
Since Jesus became sin, He had to also die, since the “wages of sin is death,” as we previously talked about (Romans 6:23). God and Jesus had to allow Jesus to be tortured and murdered for us! Jesus had to submit to His Father’s will and offer Himself for us. Either of them could have stopped this process at any time, but they did not do so, since they loved us so much! Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:9 says, “Much more then having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” Salvation in Jesus is the free gift of God (Romans 6:23). Since salvation is a gift, it can be refused or it can be accepted, and the choice is ours. Jesus had to die for our sins because no one else could. There was no other perfect sacrifice.
Romans 5:10 tells us the only way to get rid of our sins is to bring them into contact with the death of Jesus. “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Therefore, what must I do to bring my sins into contact with the death of Jesus so I can be reconciled to God?
The first thing we must do is to learn about God through His Word, the Bible. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). We don’t have to memorize the books of the Bible, or passages of scriptures. We don’t need to be Bible scholars to understand what we need to do to be saved for all eternity. This leads us to our next question.
Believe and confess
What must I do to be saved? What things affect my salvation? We need to BELIEVE and CONFESS. Romans 10:9 says “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Is belief enough? Even Satan believes that Jesus is the Son of God, but we know that he will spend eternity in Hell.
Are belief and confession enough? In Luke 4:33-34 the scripture says, “In the synagogue there was a man possessed by the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Let us alone! What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” Even though the demons both believed and confessed that Jesus was the Messiah, we know they will not be in Heaven, since they are the servants of Satan. God’s Word tells us that belief and confession are required for our salvation, but it never indicates that they bring our sins into contact with the death of Christ.
There is more. We must have deep sorrow for what we have done, for the sins we have committed, and be ready to change our ways to become godly, Christian women. We must repent. Jesus says, in Luke 13:3, “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” REPENTANCE is also required for our salvation. In Second Peter 3:9 and Acts 17:30, God commands men to repent; we will perish if we do not repent. However, once again, there is no indication that repentance, even though required for salvation, brings our sins into contact with the death of Jesus.
First Peter 3:21 says, “BAPTISM now saves you.” How can getting dunked under water have anything to do with my salvation?
Romans 6:3 says, “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?” According to this scripture, how do our sins come into contact with the death of Jesus? Verse 4 continues, “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” Baptism is a burial with Jesus into the death of Jesus. After baptism, we begin a new life as a Christian.
In Romans 6:5-6 we read, “For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, that we would no longer be slaves to sin.” Our old body of sin died with Jesus. In verse 7, it says, “for he who has died is freed from sin.” When our old body of sin dies in baptism, we are freed from our sins.
When we know what we are to do to be saved we are not to delay. In Acts 22:16 we read, “Now why do you delay? Get up, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.” According to God’s Word, baptism washes away our sins. Even though belief, confession, and repentance are required for salvation, the Word of God does not say they wash away our sins; only baptism does that!
Make the decision
Deep down in your heart, do you want to become a Christian? If your answer is yes, then do not wait! You can make yourself right with God any day of the week, at any time of the day, and you can be baptized by immersion in any type of water. If you understand the gospel and are ready to commit your life to God, contact a scripturally accurate church, or a Biblically sound preacher or teacher, and they can guide you.
God and Jesus want you to become a Christian. Who does not want that to happen? Satan will use every measure of his being to discourage us from obeying God. He’ll try to make us hesitate about becoming a Christian through baptism. He knows that tomorrow may be too late, and if it is, then we will be his for all eternity. James 4:14 says, “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”
We do not know when our life will be over, or when the end of time will be. According to Mark 13:31-33, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come.” Satan knows that if he can just get us to wait, then maybe we will change our minds, or maybe the end of our lives on earth will come, and then it will be forever too late. Satan is good at that! He is so cunning at how he manipulates our hearts and minds.
We need the same urgency the eunuch had in Acts 8:36-38: “As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” And Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ And he answered and said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’ And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him.”
After we are baptized, are we guaranteed we’ll go to Heaven? Revelation 2:10 tells us, “Be faithful until death and I will give you a crown of life.” Romans 11:22 says, “Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise, you also will be cut off.” According to the previous verses, our salvation is secure in Christ when we commit to having a pure heart and living a godly, Christian life.
Does that mean we will always be perfect? No, but it does mean we need to strive to be holy, Christian women. When we sin after we become a Christian, we can then, with a repentant heart, be reconciled back to God, through prayer. First John 1:7 says, “but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” This is a continual cleansing through prayer and repentance.
How do I know that I am saved? Because I believe with all of my heart that Jesus is the Son of God and was born of a virgin. I believe He died for my sins and that God raised Him from the dead. I know I am saved because I have confessed these beliefs out loud in the presence of witnesses and have been baptized into the death of Christ, bringing my sins into contact with the death of Christ. My old body of sin was crucified and died with Jesus on the cross. I have become a new creature in Christ. I was reconciled to God in Christ, and since my sins have been forgiven, I have peace with God and I am promised the gift of eternal life in Jesus if I live a faithful Christian life.
What do you want to do? What does God want you to do? It doesn’t matter what anyone else wants you to do. This is between you and your Heavenly Father. After all, it will only be you and God on the judgment day. We all have to stand, individually, before Him, just as the Bible says in Romans 2:5-6, “But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each according to his deeds.” You can choose to reject Christ’s gift, or to accept His invitation, so that you may one day hear the words stated in Matthew 25:21, “Well done, good and faithful servant… enter into the joy of your lord.” Right now, it’s your decision. What is your answer to God?
By Carol Gartman