Let’s deal with the most important question in the world: Are you going to heaven? God’s plan for your life is for you to spend eternity with Him in heaven and to be certain of it while you’re on this earth. Your enemy (the Devil) does not want you to go there but if you are going there, he wants you to doubt it. If you are reading this article, you can answer “yes” to the most important question and you can be certain of your answer. So read on my friends, and feel free to forward this to anyone you feel may benefit. After all, this is “the most important question in the world!”
Can We Really Know For Sure?
The answer to the above question is “yes,” we sure can. As stated above, God’s will is not only for you to go to heaven but for you to live out your life on earth with a certainty that this is the case. One of the reasons the Bible was written is so you can have confident assurance in your salvation.
These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13 NASB)
We Are Saved By GRACE!!!!
There are many passages that speak directly to the question “Are you going to Heaven?” Below is one of my favorites:
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (Ephesians 2)
Let’s start right from the beginning, For by grace you have been saved. In other words, if you are going to heaven / aka “saved,” it is because of “grace.” Grace means: Unmerited favor… receiving something you didn’t work for… getting something you haven’t earned… receiving a gift… you get the idea? I love the concept of “God’s grace!” If you work for it, earn it, deserve it, etc…. it ceases being “grace.” And, Ephesians 2:8-9 leaves no doubt that those who are saved are saved by grace. The concept of grace is repeated five times in two verses:
- For by grace you have been saved
- and that not of yourselves
- it is the gift of God
- not as a result of works
- no one may boast
At the time the book of Ephesians was written, repetition meant emphasis. Today we emphasize with all caps. When I was a lad we used an exclamation point for emphasis (silly people). The point is that if you are saved:
YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED BY GRACE!!!!!!!!
How is Grace Received?
Okay, so we are saved by grace which is the equivalent of receiving a gift. So does that mean everyone is saved? No my friend, I’m afraid not. The free gift is paid for by Jesus on the cross, and it is offered to you as a free gift. But the gift is received by faith; For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves. Your faith allows you to receive God’s grace. I think a common misconception is to confuse faith with mere intellectual assent (believing in facts). Believing is part of faith but not the entirety of faith. Believing in facts is necessary but doesn’t get you into heaven. This is made clear in the following passage from the book of James:
You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. (James 2:19)
The demons “believe” in God and guess what, (as we say in East Texas) “they ain’t saved.” Believing the facts is a necessary ingredient for faith, but faith also involves trusting which is about reliance. Believing and trusting is having faith.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)
In What Shall We Trust?
The answer to the above question is right there in the verse as well; created in Christ Jesus. Your salvation / whether or not you go to heaven is contingent on what you do with Jesus Christ. You see, we all sin and fail the requirements of a perfectly holy (set apart from sin) and perfectly just (cannot ignore sin) God. This is where grace comes in. Jesus (the eternal Son of God) became a man and paid for your sins on the cross. Jesus satisfied God’s holiness and grace by paying the penalty for sin. Jesus’ work bought your entrance into heaven. This is now offered to you as a gift (grace). It is as if the gift of salvation was paid for, wrapped up and held out to each individual. But whether or not it is received is up to you. Unfortunately, many say “no.” The key to heaven is to say “yes” to Jesus and what He offers. He offers a permanent relationship with Himself; He offers Himself to enter into your life. And, saying “yes” to Jesus requires faith (belief and trust). Saying “yes” is essentially saying this:
Yes – I trust You (Jesus) alone for my salvation; and will follow You forever.
The above sentence can be received in many ways. It isn’t about dictation or getting the words just right – it is about receiving Jesus into your life for who He is. Most of us have heard the term “Lord and Savior” associated with Jesus…. well, agreeing to the covenant above makes Him YOUR Lord and YOUR Savior. Lord literally means “master,” and savior is the one who has saved you (from your sins).
What About Good Works?
My experience tells me that what many Americans get wrong when answering the question, “are you going to heaven?” is that “good works” is placed into the equation in the wrong place. Good works simply means doing good. Some people place good works as THE sole determining factor, but most place it in concert with faith as a part of the equation that gets them into heaven. For example, if we were to go out on the street and ask ten random people “Why do you believe you are going to heaven?” we might get seven or eight answers along these lines:
- I do more good than bad.
- I am trying to leave the earth better than I found it.
- I was baptized five years ago.
- I believe in Jesus and go to church almost every week.
- I believe in Jesus and raise my kids right.
- I believe in Jesus and give money to charity.
- I believe in Jesus and try to live according to the Ten Commandments.
- I believe in Jesus and live life the best that I can.
There is definitely a place for doing good works, but it doesn’t belong in an equation that determines whether or not you are saved. Please read Ephesians 2:8-10 again and recognize the order; recognize what has taken place BEFORE “good works” come into play. Here is a rough paraphrase of what Ephesians 2:8-10 says:
If you have been saved:
it’s by grace;
you received it by your faith in Jesus;
you didn’t do it – Jesus did;
your salvation is a gift from God;
don’t brag about yourself, brag about Jesus……
**NOW YOU’RE READY FOR GOOD WORKS!**
Good works are a very important RESPONSE to your salvation, not a means to that end. The pattern in New Covenant is: Jesus’ work + faith = salvation and then good works. Never, ever put works on the other side of the equal sign.
Do Not Ever Leave Grace
Grace is an ever so important concept to understand. Here are the natural consequences for understanding grace:
- If my salvation was not brought about by good works, it cannot be lost by bad works (security).
- If my works aren’t factored into whether or not I’m saved, I don’t have to worry about whether or not I have done enough (assurance).
- If I have been forgiven for all my sins (past, present, future) by God’s’ grace, then God isn’t angry at me because of my sins (peace).
In conclusion, I implore you to receive God’s grace and all that comes with it. Go ahead, be a SAP (Security Assurance Peace).