CAN YOU KNOW FOR SURE THAT YOU WILL GO TO HEAVEN?
The PROBLEM: Are we saved by faith or by good works? Many sincere people have good intentions, but misunderstand the doctrine of salvation. “Saved from what?”, some ask... The Word of God is our only authoritative source, to answer such questions. We are saved or rescued from the eternal flames of Hell that await all unbelievers. “...He that believeth not is condemned already...” (John 3:18). God has already predetermined that those who do not believe in His plan of Salvation will be rejected from His presence and sent to a devil’s Hell.
You say, that’s not fair! What did I do? I’m not so bad! Perhaps according to our standards, our opinions of comparing one another, you are not so bad. Yet, by God’s measure, which is sinless perfection, you and I are both sinners.
The Bible teaches that all men are sinners by their nature. Dogs do not fly like birds, and birds do not swim like fish. A bird flies because it is his nature to fly, and likewise the fish swims... Man sins because he inherited the sinful nature of Adam. “Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Rom. 5:12).
Now the question arises, “How are you saved from God’s judgment?” The Phillipian jailor asked that question in Acts 16:30, and the Apostle Paul’s answer was very clear, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved...” (vs. 31). Paul did not issue a long list of deeds to perform; he simply told the jailor to put his trust in Jesus Christ. If our good works could save us, then there was no reason for our Lord Jesus to suffer and die on the cross. Take note, the Bible teaches that, “Christ died to save sinners”.
All of our good works could never pay the price of our sin debt because, “The wages of sin is death...” (Rom. 6:23a). To believe on Christ is to place your trust in Him completely. The Bible says in James 4, “You believe there is one God, you do well, the devils believe and tremble”. This belief, or acknowledging the existence of Christ, is not the saving faith that applies trust to belief.
A man “believes” that a person can pilot an airplane, in fact, he may be sure of it, having seen it done several times at the airport. But it is quite another matter to enter the airplane and fly away! Then I place my trust in the pilot because I can do nothing; my life is in his hands. “I believe in him...”
Perhaps the religious person may believe in the historical person of Christ but like an untrusting spectator at the airport, he refuses to personally put his destiny into the hands of another. Christ says, “Come unto Me...”, but the religious person puts his trust in his own philosophy to get himself to Heaven. It appears better than trusting and resting in Christ... “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 16:25).
Church rituals and acts of kindness may seem like the way of salvation, but this is not according to the Holy Scriptures. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the truth, and the life and no man cometh unto the Father but by Me” (John 14:6). How about you? Is your faith and trust in Christ above? You must realize, “For by grace are you saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8,9). “not of works”, that’s the Word of God!
The PROCEDURE: Man has difficulty in accepting the mercy and loving forgiveness of God, so freely! Each tries to “do something” to earn his or her salvation. “...But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23b).
However, if a voice came from Heaven telling us to crawl on our knees some distance to gain salvation, or to give money to the Church, or to do something physical and tangible for salvation, then multitudes would rush out and “DO” these works to obtain God’s favor. Self-participation is easier to accept than God’s gift! Man’s logic compels him to work for God’s pardon, but his logic is unscriptural. Indeed, the Holy Scriptures command us to do good works, but for another twofold purpose, NOT for our salvation.
The PURPOSE: First, “...That they may see your good works, and glorify your Father, which is in Heaven,” (Matthew 5:16). Our good works are an external evidence of an internal change that has taken place in our hearts, attitudes and lives. Doing right has the primary purpose of bringing glory to God as others recognize a changed new life in Christ! The Apostle Paul said, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20).
The Bible teaches, Zacchaeus did good works AFTER he was born again,“And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold” (Luke 19:8). He did not do this kindness to obtain salvation, but rather to glorify God and to express his joy and gratitude to God!
True Biblical salvation will change a person at the precise point in time he becomes a Christian. The Apostle Paul received Jesus Christ as Saviour on the road to Damascus (Acts 9) and his life was transformed on that day from persecuting to praising Jesus! Paul’s life of good works did not earn him a place in Heaven. His kneeling and believing in Jesus Christ secured his future in Heaven above.
A person must realize that he can never save himself by being good, or by following a religious practice, or by being born in a “ Christian nation”! Rather, he must be born again of the spirit, on a particular day at a specific point in time when he bows his head and heart to God Almighty and calls upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved. Salvation is for all! “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Secondly, we must note that although we do not work to be saved, we will earn eternal rewards based upon our faithfulness to God’s service and His will for our lives. This is a purpose for good works. “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” Revelation 22:12). “If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire”(1 Corinthians 3:14). Notice that you can be saved and go to Heaven with little or no rewards simply by living a selfish life.
Then too, I must warn you that you can do good works and still not go to Heaven! “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7: 22,23).
It is sad but true that God will reject many because they never met Christ on His terms. Their good works are called inquity because they are proudly trying to justify themselves through their good deeds. Don’t you see that? Why not come to Jesus Christ our Saviour and trust His finished work on Calvary’s cross for your salvation. Don’t depend upon your good works, your moral life or religious beliefs to get you to Heaven. Put your trust in Jesus Christ alone! Bow your head in prayer and confess your need to the Saviour now! “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:14).
If you don’t know how, you might pray something like this: “Dear Father in Heaven, I thank you for sending the Lord Jesus to die upon the Cross for me. I repent with sorrow for all my sins, and ask you to forgive me and help me live for You. Please cleanse me with Your precious blood. I open my heart and by faith I ask You to come into my life. I now accept Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour! In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.”
ARE WE SAVED BY FAITH OR BY GOOD WORKS?