Where are you going?

Life is short, then we die.  We don’t like to think about it, but we all know it’s true.  It’s a well known saying that the only two things certain in life are death and taxes!

But, death is NOT the end.  Our souls, i.e. that part of us that gives us our personality and makes us who we are, live on.  Yes there is life after death!

After death … ?

So, what happens to us after death?  This is a very important question.  There are many opinions and ideas, but how can we know the truth? We need someone who has died, then come back to life.  They would be able to tell us the truth.  The only person in the history of humanity to die then come back to life, never to die again, is the Lord Jesus Christ.

He said “I am the first and the last, the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive for ever more.” (Revelation 1:17-18)

Someone who knows

The Lord Jesus warns us about the danger of concentrating on earning money and getting rich in this life; “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26).

He also warns against just being too busy with our work and our seeking after pleasure to make time to prepare for eternity.  He told about a successful businessman, who was so busy expanding his business and planning his retirement that he had no time for God.  We read that one night “God said to him ‘You fool!  This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’” (Luke 12:20). We need to make time to prepare for eternity in an age when the urgent often crowds out the important.

Jesus also tells us that every one of us, whatever our beliefs or background, will one day stand before the judgement seat of Christ (Matthew 25:31-46).  He tells us that we will all be divided into two groups and be judged according to what we have done in this life.  One group will go away into eternal punishment [in hell] but the other group will go into eternal life [in heaven] (v46).

Are you good enough to go to heaven?

‘Do you think that you will go to heaven when you die?’ a man was asked recently.  ‘I hope so!’ he replied.  ‘Are you sure?’ he was asked again, to which he said ‘Can anyone be sure?  I try my best and hope that will be good enough!’

What about you?  Do you hope that you will be good enough to get into heaven?  What do the Holy Scriptures say?

“all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

So the Scriptures say that we all fall short of God’s perfect standard, and none of us are good enough to go to heaven.  If we are honest we know that is true.  Have you kept all of the Ten Commandments?  Have you ever used God’s name in vain or told a lie?  If so, you are guilty of sin.  This makes you unfit for heaven.

What’s more, our sin not only bars us from heaven, but brings with it serious consequences, “for the wages of sin is death”, i.e. eternal punishment in hell (Romans 6:23).

Who then will go to heaven?

Romans 6:23 goes on to say “but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” So, eternal life is a free gift from God, through the Lord Jesus Christ, not something that we earn.

So how is this free gift received?  The Lord Jesus Christ tells us that it is received by believing in Him.  God sent Him into the world that the world should be saved through Him.  He said:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.  For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.” (John 3:16-17).

So God, because of His great love for mankind, has sent His own dear Son to be a Saviour for all those who believe in Him.  He made this possible by Jesus dying on the cross in our place and rising again victorious over sin and death (John 10:11, 18; John 11:25-26).  So, faith in Jesus is the key to heaven.  All those, and only those, who believe in Him will be in heaven (John 14:6).

What must I add to secure my place in heaven?

Nothing! You cannot add anything to what is a complete and finished work.  Just before Jesus died on the cross, he declared “It is finished” (John 19:30).  Peter says that “Christ died for sins, once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God.” (1 Peter 3:18).  So for us to try to add to Christ’s finished work of salvation is to suggest that His work was not finished.  Even going to church, being baptised, confirmed, taking mass or communion or doing acts of charity cannot add to Christ’s finished work.  If they did, that would give us some grounds for boasting in heaven, which God does not allow.  The Scriptures say of Christians.. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works [i.e. what we do for God] that no one should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9).  The next verse says that Christians are to live good lives as a result of this salvation (Ephesians 2:10).  This is the response God requires of those He saves (2 Corinthians 5:15).

So, where are YOU going?

If you are trying to get to heaven by being good enough, you will fail.  Jesus said “you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)  None of us are perfect.  We have all sinned and all deserve eternal punishment in hell.  But, if you are trusting in Christ alone for the forgiveness of your sins then you can be sure that you are going to heaven.  How can you be sure?  Because God has promised  “He who believes in the Son has eternal life” (John 3:36), and He cannot lie!

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