Most people think that they are deserving of heaven. They feel they have been good men or women and have lived their lives by the Golden Rule. What people need to hear, though, is:
GRACE. The Good News is that heaven is a free gift. The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”—Romans 6:23. God goes on to say in Ephesians 2:8,9 that heaven is not earned or deserved, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
MAN. The Bible states that man is a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” You see, God’s standard is perfection. Man also cannot save himself. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the ends thereof are the ways of death.” You cannot earn your way into heaven.
GOD. God is merciful and doesn’t want to punish us, though. In Jeremiah 31:3b , God says, “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love.” But, God is just and must punish sin. Exodus 34:7b says, “and that (He) will by no means clear the guilty.”
CHRIST. God solved this problem of being merciful on one hand and just on the other through the person of Jesus Christ. Christ is the infinite God-man. Jesus is God. Jesus died on the cross, in our place, to pay for the wage of sin, which is death. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). God has laid to the account of Christ all of my sin and guilt.
FAITH. Faith is the key that opens the door to heaven. Some people believe in Jesus Christ the same way they believe in Napoleon or George Washington. They believe that He actually lived, that He was a real person in history, but they are not trusting in Him to do anything for them now. This is called intellectual assent. This is not saving faith. Saving faith is where you trust in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation. Acts 16:31 says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved and thy house.” It is a relationship to God through the person of Jesus Christ.
APPROPRIATION. Does this make sense to you? Would you like to receive this gift of eternal life? If so, here is a suggested prayer:
Father, I realize that heaven is a free gift and that I have not earned it or deserved it. I acknowledge that I have sinned against you and I ask you to forgive me. I know that I cannot save myself. I know you are merciful and love me with an everlasting love, but that you are also just and must punish my sin. I believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins, was buried, and rose again, in order to purchase a place in heaven for me, which He offers as a free gift. I am trusting in Jesus Christ alone for my eternal life. I accept you, Jesus, as not only my Savior,
but also as the Lord of my life. I invite you, Jesus,
into my heart today as my personal Savior and Lord.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for saving me. In Christ’s name, amen.
This is just the beginning of a wonderful new life in Christ. To deepen this relationship you should:
- Be baptized. The first act of obedience, after being saved, is to be baptized.
- Read your Bible every day to get to know Christ better.
- Read the New Testament first, then read the Old Testament.
- Talk to God in prayer every day.
- Tell others about Christ.
- Worship, fellowship, and serve with other Christians in a church where Christ is preached.
- Demonstrate your new life by your love and concern for others, as Christ’s representative in a needy world.