God gives us clear instructions on how we can live eternally with Him.
The truth of the matter is that we all won’t be entering into heaven.
Heaven is not the default destination after someone dies. Despite this, an overwhelming majority of American’s believe that they will head to the eternal afterlife with God. The optimism is great, but we have to remember what Jesus said in Matthew 7:13-14. “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
Hell is our default destination according to the Bible. Jesus, however, gave us the way to fix our sin problem and change that setting. Once we put our hearts towards God and ask for forgiveness, we can begin the process of becoming a true Christian.
Being Good isn’t Enough
There is a common assumption in society that as long as you lead a good life, you will be able to go to heaven. However the thought that “all good people enter heaven” isn’t truth from the Bible. This belief assumes that though some “bad” people need punishment, that most are generally good and entitled to heaven. It also assumes that the entrance to heaven is on the basis of merit and our actions, and not because of God’s grace. However there’s no righteous deed we can do that will earn us a place in heaven (Titus 3:5). Lastly, the thought suggests that hell is only for a few marginal people who do purely evil acts.
Being a good person only isn’t going to get someone into heaven. When we sin, we fall short of God’s standards. Sin separates us from a relationship with God (Isaiah 59:2). God wanted to give us a way to free ourselves from our sin, so He blessed us with Jesus Christ. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Jesus died on the cross as the only one worthy to pay the penalty for our sins demanded by the holiness of God. But in victory over death, God raised Jesus from the grave, defeating the consequences of sin.
Repent For Our Sins
Only when our sins are dealt with in Christ can we enter heaven. We cannot pay our own way. Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Because of Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross on our behalf, God freely offers us forgiveness. You have to accept Him into your heart, though, if you want to enter into the eternal life.
In order to be forgiven of our sins we have to recognize that we sin in the first place and then ask for forgiveness from God. Forgiveness is not automatic. The verse 1 John 1:9 states “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Christ offers to everyone the gifts of forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life. This gift cannot be worked for, earned, or achieved. It’s dependent solely on Christ’s generous sacrifice on our behalf.
God Wants Us to Go to Heaven
Despite heaven not being our default destination that does not mean God doesn’t want us there. He actually is hoping for us to come to Him! God would not have sent Jesus down to free us from our sins otherwise. In John 6:38, Jesus says “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” There are six other times in just John 6 where Jesus stresses that His purpose is to do the Will of God. God wants us to apologize for our sins and accept Jesus as our savior so that one day we can come home to Him.
There is a way for us on earth to get into heaven. We have to work on being a good Christian that regularly confesses our sins, and recognize that Jesus is our only way to salvation. If we do this we can take comfort in knowing that God is cheering us on and can’t wait to have us home again.