Heaven And Salvation
Can you be sure you will go to heaven when you die?
Yes, in fact, the most important question anyone could ever ask is: “How do I get to heaven?” People have been asking this question since man was created. First of all, God wants you with Him forever! And fortunately, He answers this life-changing question simply and clearly.
Christianity is not a religion. It is a relationship with God. And from the beginning of Creation, God has wanted to have a relationship with His highest creation—mankind. But religion has confused the matter, and told people that they can earn salvation, or work hard enough to get it. Religion tells people if they follow certain rules, then God would accept them. But, that’s not the gospel at all. “Gospel” means: Good news. And the good news is: SALVATION IS A FREE GIFT. Going to HEAVEN is a free gift! God offers this free gift of salvation because He is madly in love with YOU! He wants to be in a love-relationship with you.
Christianity—Not a Religion
Christianity is a RELATIONSHIP—That’s why God sent Jesus Christ to the earth – to die on a cross as a substitute for you and me, for our sins, and for the sins of this world. Jesus paid the price to create a bridge between God and man. A perfect man, Jesus, took the place of imperfect men and women—you and me. He exchanged His innocent life for our guilty life. Salvation—God’s plan for eternal life!
We understand God’s plan of salvation through His explanation in the Bible. God has given us the Bible—His written Word to mankind—to communicate His amazing plan of salvation.
The Bible contains 66 books, written over a period of 1500 years, by 39 authors, who were inspired by the very breath of God to write His Words. Its authenticity is validated HISTORICALLY, ARCHEOLOGICALLY, & PROPHETICALLY. Its truth and veracity are unrivaled by any other historical or religious document. The Dead Sea Scrolls are an example of its consistency in the process of passing down the letters, so that they maintain their original meaning and words.
The Bible can and should be taken literally, except where it states that it is speaking symbolically. Adam and Eve were real. Sin is real. The devil is real. The fall of man is real. And Jesus is REAL.
In fact, you are about to experience Him today, as you continue reading!
The PROBLEM—The Bible makes clear in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” The problem is clear: Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death.” So, simply put: we have all sinned (and we’re born into sin, because of Adam), and we all deserve eternal death. In God’s universal justice system, someone has to pay the price for sin.
THE SOLUTION—But the second part of Romans 6:23 GIVES US HOPE: “but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.” So God offers us forgiveness. How? Through faith in His Son. Jesus pays the price, through His blood for our sins. Romans 10:9 says, “That if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.”
One of the most well-known verses in the Bible is John 3:16-17, where Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world might be saved, through Him.”
God also states His plan of salvation very clearly in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
See how simple God’s plan of salvation is?
Grace Not Works
“What must I do to be saved?” someone asked in Acts 16:30. Paul’s answer was simple: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and your family.” No list of do’s and don’ts? No way to earn or deserve it? No. Salvation is a free gift. A priceless gift, that no one could ever be good enough to earn or deserve. This free gift is referred to as “grace.”
While we should obviously obey God’s Word and live by sound moral code and conscience, none of that saves us. God explains that further in Titus 3:5-8, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.”
You see? We are NOT saved by our good works; but since we ARE saved (by grace through faith) already, our desires change, and we end up wanting to do what’s right.
We do the good things out of a grateful heart for the gift we have received—not to earn the gift. God’s “grace” literally means “His unmerited favor” & “His undeserved love.”
God makes clear that no one is saved, or forgiven, or justified by their good works. He offers you eternal life as a gift. But that gift is found only in Jesus Christ. In Acts 4:12, Peter (talking about Jesus) tells the religious rulers, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is no other Name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
Jesus clearly said in John 14:6, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man comes to the Father, but by Me.”
Through Jesus, God takes away our sins, and gives us His gift of salvation and righteousness. This gift of salvation is like an exchange. Many refer to it as, the Great Exchange. He exchanges your old life… for His new life. Your sin… for His righteousness! Many people try to get their life straightened out before they come to God. But, we can’t change spiritually until we are born-again (John 3:3). We could never get clean enough to stand in the presence of a sinless, spotless, holy God. That’s why He cleanses us of our sin through the blood of Jesus!
I John 1:7-9 says, “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
YOU ARE READY!
If you’ve never accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior & Lord, He invites you NOW. Revelation 3:20, says that Jesus is standing at the door of your heart-waiting for you to invite Him in. Just pray from your heart out-loud: “Heavenly Father, I accept Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. I ask you to forgive me of my sins. I receive the gift of salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ.I believe Jesus died for my sins and rose from the dead. I accept your loving invitation to become born again and be your child. Though I was born a sinner, I believe I am born again NOW, and made righteous by You, through Jesus’ precious blood. By your grace, I am now saved. I accept your Son, Jesus, as my Lord, and as my Savior. From this day forward, You will never leave me nor forsake me, in Jesus’ Name” If you prayed that from your heart and believe it, God heard you and answered! You are NOW a child of God!”
I John 4:15 says, “If you will confess that Jesus is the Son of God, then God will come and dwell in you, and you will dwell in Him.”
Tell someone. As you share what just happened, you will find yourself invigorated, and you will be spreading God’s love and plan of salvation, simply by telling someone what happened to you. We want to hear from you! Email us here to tell us that you have just prayed the prayer of salvation and we will mail you a gift.
Get baptized in water. By doing so, you are symbolically identifying with Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. Baptism means ‘immersion’. By being baptized you are declaring outwardly what has happened to you inwardly. Jesus said to be baptized in His Name—in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19).
We would love to host you at Life Changers Church. You can plan your visit here. If you are not in our area, find a Bible-believing, love-filled, grace-centered church and seek out baptism there.
Let’s Grow! In order to grow as a new Christian, I encourage you to take advantage of the following 3 God-given tools for a victorious walk with God.
1. Read and Study the Bible.
I started in the Book of John when I first got saved. And I kept reading through the New Testament. I encourage you to do so as well. Perhaps read one or two chapters a day to get started.
The Old Testament is GREAT as well; however, it’s important to understand that we are not under the Old Covenant any longer— where we are commanded to fulfill all the laws in order to be accepted by God; but rather we are placed into the New Covenant, where we are saved by God’s grace. Therefore I encourage you to study the New Covenant (New Testament) first. You will definitely want to study the Old Testament, because it is rich in wisdom, Psalms, and prophecy; and it explains the history of God’s plan. But it’s important to understand that the Old Covenant Laws were fulfilled by Jesus, as He nailed all the decrees and curses against us to the cross. So it’s important to read the Old Testament, armed with that knowledge.
Also, get a good Bible translation. I use the King James, New King James, New American Standard, and the Amplified Bible. I also like to read out of the Message Translation. Some people argue about which translation, but I believe reading from all of them, as we have such access online, is a good thing.
We have wonderful teaching resources you can get from our website here. You can also call our church office at 847-645-9100 if you would like to speak to anyone on our team.
Talk to God every day. Some people wake up and say, “Good God, it’s morning!” But I encourage you to wake up and instead say, “Good Morning, God! Thank You for loving me! I love you! Lead me today by your Holy Spirit.” Wake up and say, “Good Morning, Lord!” Remember this: Christianity is not a religion. It is a relationship with God. That involves communication.
I encourage you to spend the first 10 minutes or more, praying and thanking God. Ask Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit. Thank Him for all the good in your life. Ask Him for wisdom. Pray for your family member’s salvation. Ask Him to lead you to the right people and deliver you from the wrong people! Ask Him to guide you. The Bible says, “Man plans his ways, but God orders His steps.” (Proverbs 16:9) Ask Him to order your steps every day.
Take a moment and listen to what He might say to your heart. He speaks from His Word, so that’s why it’s so vital to read the Bible. Jesus said, you can hear His voice (John 10:27).
3. Get Plugged into Church
Jesus said, “The gates of Hell cannot prevail against the Church.” (Matthew 16:18) God has designed each of us to be connected to a church—the way each part of our body is connected to our whole body. Some people will try to say that we don’t need to be committed to a church. But that’s like arguing that we don’t need to grow up in a family. While many have overcome great pain, after not growing up in a healthy family, that’s not God’s best plan. It’s God’s desire that we grow together with other spiritual brothers and sisters, in God’s purpose for our lives, and in fulfilling a God-ordained mission together.
When we are connected to a healthy church:
We have greater power—Matthew 18:20
We have greater love— John 13:34-35
We have greater purpose—1 Corinthians 12:18
We have greater growth—Psalm 92:13
By being connected to a church:
We are FED THE WORD OF GOD, consistently by our God-ordained pastor—1 Peter 5:2
We are covered with godly protection—Acts 20:28
We are able to fellowship as a part of a spiritual FAMILY—Acts 2:42
We find our purpose in SERVING—1 Peter 4:10
We are a part of an evangelistic plan to bring others to Jesus and to His family—Acts 2:42-47
You’ve just made the greatest decision of your life; and though there will be challenges, you are not alone. God is with you and He will never let you go!
Your greatest days are ahead! If you desire prayer from someone or just need a friend, click here to contact us.