Ask yourself: "If I were to die today, would I go to heaven?"
If God asked you, "Why should I let you into my heaven?" what would you say?
1. Heaven is a free gift
If someone offered you a free gift, you'd take it wouldn't you? Just imagine a close family member giving you a gift at christmas time, and you pull out your wallet, count your money, and reply "no, sorry, I can't -- I don't have enough money." That sounds almost ridiculous because it's a gift, and gifts are free, you don't have to pay for them. The Bible says, "the gift of God is eternal life." Since it's a gift, it can't be earned or deserved -- it's free. Heaven is a free gift.
2. There's a problem called sin
If heaven is a free gift that you don't have to earn, then that's great news! But there is a problem; it's called sin. Sin is a worldwide disease -- it's anything you say, do, or even think that breaks God's laws. Sin disqualifies you for receiving the gift of heaven. The Bible says, "the wages of sin is death." That's a bummer.
Most people think "well, I haven't really been a bad person." While this is may be true, sin is like an omelet that one friend made for another. He started cracking eggs into a mix only to realize the fifth egg was bad, but by that time it was too late -- the egg was already in the mix. The friend tried to cover the taste of the bad egg with spices, but in the end, the whole omelet was really not fit for consumption.
God is perfect. In order to be with Him in heaven, we have to be perfect too. The Bible says, "be perfect as I am perfect." As you know, that's impossible because the Bible also says, "all have sinned and fall short of God's glory." Listen, sin comes into sharper focus when we see what the Bible has to say about God.
3. God is loving and just
The Bible says that on the one hand, God is love. Since God is love, he does not want to punish sin. But on the other hand, the Bible also says that God is just and "will by no means clear the guilty, but will punish sin." Just imagine a courtroom where a bank robber pleads guilty but then asks for pardon from the judge, which he receives and is allowed to go free. Such a society would be in utter chaos with no justice. Being both loving and just, God's answer to sin can be seen in the person of Jesus Christ.
4. Jesus: God's answer to sin
There is a story of an army general who was conducting a campaign against the enemy. On the return trip, supplies were strictly rationed to last the whole journey. It was discovered that someone was stealing from the rations. The punishment for this was 30 lashes at the whipping post. Upon conducting an investigation, it was found that the general's own mother was stealing the rations. The general faced the tough decision of whether or not to punish his mother. If he did not, then it might set an example for lawlessness amongst the troops. Yet if he did, he might be seen as excessively cruel. On the day of punishment, the general watched as his own mother was tied to the whipping post, then before the beating was to begin, he stepped in, untied her bonds, and took her place, receiving the beating for her. Jesus is God in the flesh. He came to earth, lived a perfect and sinless life, and took the punishment for mankind by dying a painful death on the cross. The record of sin blocks us from knowing God. The Bible says "we all like sheep have gone astray, each of us going his own way, but the Lord has laid on Him, the iniquity of us all." Jesus took our sins so we could be perfect with God.
5. Faith is the key
To accept God's gift of salvation, you must put your trust in the payment Jesus made for your sins on the cross. Faith is not a temporary or partial belief. Some people will trust God for their health or their finances. Faith is a complete trust, like you trust a chair to fully hold you when you sit down. To accept God's gift you simply ask in prayer. The Bible says, "if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Making Jesus Lord of your life means not only putting your trust in him for forgiving your sins, but also turning from doing things your way, to His way.
If you would like to accept God's gift of salvation you can pray these words:
"Jesus, I know I'm a sinner. Thank you for dying on the cross for me. Please forgive my sins and save me. Please come in and be the Lord of my life."
If you have accepted God's gift through prayer today, please contact us. We would like to hear about it and send you some more information on knowing God personally in your life.
PO Box 816 - Harrisonburg, VA 22803