Getting Into Heaven

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, June 8, 2018 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

There are many proposed ideas of how to get into heaven. Is there only one way? Does God consider our good works? Doesn’t his love overcome his judgment? Why would a loving God send anyone to hell anyway? Can you wait to follow God until you’re ready? Let us set things straight.

One way. Jesus said it so clearly. “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father but through me.” He also begged God three times for salvation to come by any other means than the cross. Let me make this clear. Jesus was not asking to avoid the Roman whips, the mocking, and the cross. He was asking to avoid become the very thing he had never experienced intimately: sin, and then taking the full force of the wrath of God. If there was any other possible way to get to heaven, then Jesus died for nothing, and our faith in Christ is in vain.

Good works. Do you think you are a good person and God will let you into heaven because of all the good things you have done? By what standard are you judging yourself by? Isaiah 64:6 tells us that all our good deeds are as filthy rags in the sight of God. They are worthless and in actuality, we are much better approaching God fully naked and ashamed than we are trying to cover ourselves in our own righteousness, because any attempt we do only shows how short we fall. Paul pulls no punches in Romans 3, telling us several times there are none who do good, no not one.

Even if each of our good deeds were worth four of each bad deed, we would never break even. How many times have we broken the Ten Commandments? How often have we worshiped something other than God? Put an image that we worship instead of him? Taken the Lord’s name in vain? Disrespected our day of worship and rest? Dishonored our parents? Murdered someone? Committed adultery? Stolen something? Lied? Coveted something that did not belong to us? Those are without the fine print that goes with each one. Have we hated someone, wishing they were out of our path? That’s murder of the heart and the only reason you haven’t actually done it is because you would not be able to get away with it. If we lust after someone, we picture ourselves being sexually intimate and even if we don’t engage physically, we are still desired to do it. God sees it as the same. Ever stolen the glory of God as your own? Or what about claiming the name of Christ and not accurately representing him? As my pastor says, “Amen, or Oh, me?” Try as you may, none of your good deeds are ever going to outweigh your sins. That is why we need a Savior, and what a great Savior he is.

God’s love. But if our sins are so great, can’t God simply forgive them and let us into heaven? After all he does love us, doesn’t he? Yes, God loves us. He loved us so much he sent his Son to save the world and not to condemn it. He desires that none perish but all might be saved. He doesn’t want any of us go to hell. He did not create hell for us. He created hell for Satan and his demonic hosts. So does God send anyone to hell who does not receive Christ as their Savior? The answer is found in the not-so-popular verses that follow John 3:16. In John 3:18, Jesus tells us that we are condemned already. So the situation is not: Repent and receive Christ or you are going to go to hell. The situation is “You are heading for hell now. Here is the way out.” The former is a threat, which many have unfortunately abused. The latter is a reality check.

But can’t God just love us enough to put that past us? After all, if our child was hurt, we would break the law and speed to get him to the nearest hospital. Yes, I have heard speakers say that God broke a law to save us using this very line as “proof.” God’s love is not love if he breaks his own standards. If God does not punish sin, he is not loving. The idea that God can simply sweep our sin under the rug takes the nature of sin too lightly. If we understood sin as God sees it, or as David saw it or as Paul saw it, then we’d realize how wicked and horrible we truly are apart from the grace of God. So, no, God cannot just “love us into heaven.” He loves us so much he will take us as we are, but he will not leave us as we are. God will not take us in our sinful status into heaven because if he tried, his holiness and his purity would annihilate us. So he has to remove the sin without destroying the sinner, and the only way that was possible was for Jesus to become sin for us. The only way to enter heaven is to die to sin because then we can resurrect with Christ.

I’ll receive Christ when I’m ready. This is one of the most dangerous things a person can say and here is why. If you say “I’m not ready,” what you are effectively saying is, “I still want to live the way I want to live, but when I want to make things right, I’ll do it on my own time.” Today is the day of salvation. Not tomorrow, not ten years from now. God will give every person a chance to receive him, however, he never leaves it up to us when to take it. He does not leave it on a table for us to claim when we want. He may offer some people multiple chances to obtain it as he did with Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2, 3, and 4), and Ahab (1 Kings 18, 20, and 22), or King Saul (1 Samuel 13 and 15), but other people he only offers it once, such as with Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5), and Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8). God is not arbitrary in how many chances he gives us. A lot of that depends upon how we respond, our character, and ultimately, God is allowed to give mercy to whom he chooses to give mercy to. You can’t get saved whenever you want. It must be with God’s drawing and his initiation. If you reject him, you are not promised any other opportunities. Watch this short video put on by John Bevere which well addresses the dangers of coming to Christ at our convenience.

Lastly, heaven is not a utopian paradise where all is lovely and fluffy as many tend to imagine. Heaven is the place where God is glorified as he ought to be glorified. Heaven is about God. If you want paradise but no God in it, you can expect to find yourself in hell, because that is the only place you can go where you won’t find God. Those who know God know that he is not boring, he is not a cruel tyrant, but he is the paradise we dream of only far better. If we diligently seek God, he will reward us by letting us find him. Heaven is where God is glorified without ceasing. We will get the benefits of paradise but it will be about God, not about us. And there is nothing greater for us than to give God his due.

How do you plan to get to heaven? Are you trying by your own efforts and your own logic and reasoning? Or are you going to take God’s offer while it is available to take? It is not going to be what many think it is; it’s going to be so much better. I know I am going to heaven, not because I am good, not because of my intellect and knowledge of sound doctrine, but for no other reason than my hope and trust is found in Jesus Christ. You can have this confidence too, but you must do it God’s way. Where do you stand? If you don’t know, you can find out with certainty. Take the tests I wrote about the last two weeks (here and here). Examine yourself to see if you are indeed in the faith. It is not too late to turn to God and to cry out for his mercy and his grace. He longs for sinners to repent. Take God up on his offer. It is more than worth it.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.