– by Nico Bougas

A teacher asked the children in her Sunday school class, “If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale, and gave all my money to the church, would that get me into heaven?” “NO!” the children all answered. “If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would that get me into heaven?” Again, the answer was, “NO!” “Well, then, if I was kind to animals and gave candy to all the children, and loved my husband, would that get me into heaven?” she asked them again. Again, they all answered, “NO!” “Well, then how can I get into heaven?” A five-year-old boy shouted out, “YOU GOTTA BE DEAD!”

The Bible is very clear
Of course the little boy was quite right. Heaven is a place for those who have departed this life. But there is no guarantee that simply dying will earn you a place in God’s Kingdom. The question that has plagued the ages is, “How do I get into Heaven?” What qualifies me entrance to God’s eternal Kingdom? Some people believe they have to obey the Ten Commandments for their entire lives to qualify for Heaven. Some people believe they must observe certain rites and rituals in order to go to Heaven. Some people believe there is no way we can know for sure whether or not we will go to Heaven. None of these views are correct. The Bible is very clear on how a person can qualify for Heaven. 

Look to Scripture
We have the promise of God that there is a permanent dwelling place. Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” – John 14:1-2. The question is: How do I get there? And can I be sure that there is a place reserved for me? Let me answer you with basic answers straight from the Scriptures.

Jesus is the only way
The first thing we need to realise is that Jesus is the only way. Peter the apostle said, “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved,” – Acts 4:12. And Jesus Himself claimed, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6.

Not our own efforts
Secondly, we cannot qualify for Heaven through our own efforts. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” – Eph 2:8-9. It is not a matter of how good you are or how many good deeds you have done in your life. 

We are all sinners
Thirdly, we have to realise that we are all sinners in need of salvation. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” – Rom 3:23. Even the very best of us fall far short of being fit for God’s Kingdom.

Accept God’s free gift
Fourthly, we need to make a conscious decision to accept God’s free gift of salvation, “But to all who believed him and accepted him, He gave the right to become children of God.” – John 1:12. Then you can be sure that you are a child of God and can have the assurance of getting into Heaven. John the apostle wrote, “I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life.” – 1 John 5:13.

Salvation Prayer
Dear God, I admit that I am a sinner and need Your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus died in my place, paying the penalty for my sins. I am willing right now to turn from my sin and accept Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour and Lord. I commit myself to You and ask You to fill me and take control, and to help me become the kind of person you want me to be. Thank you Father for loving me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Nico Bougas is the International Director of Development of  Hellenic Ministries. Email him on Nico@bougas.info, visit www.hellenicministries.com

Article source: JOY! Magazine (April 2019)

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