This is a heavy question many of us have thought about at least once in our lifetime. You might be asking yourself this very question right now: How do I get to heaven?
There are many answers out there and it can be hard to shift through all the noise. Some well-meaning people believe everyone goes to heaven while others believe being a good person will get you into heaven.
What’s the truth and how can we know for sure?
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What is heaven according to the Bible?
First, I want to start off by saying heaven is real.
There is an afterlife and when we die we either go to heaven or hell.
If I were to ask you where you’re going after you die, what would you say?
Many believe heaven exists. According to a study done by Pew Research, a little over 70% of Americans believe in heaven. In comparison, approximately 50% believe in hell. Hell is a hard pill to swallow. We want things to turn out well on the other side of all this.
Not too much is said about heaven in the scriptures. According to the Bible, heaven is where God is (Psalm 115:3, Psalm 33:13, 1 Kings 8:27), a place we can go to when we die (John 3:16, Luke 23:43, Luke 7:21), and paradise (Luke 23:43).
Bible verses about heaven
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.” (Matthew 5:12 ESV).
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4 ESV).
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19–21 ESV).
“For we know that if the tent that is our earthy home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2 Corinthians 5:1 ESV).
“For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.” (Hebrews 13:14 ESV).
Can good works get you to heaven?
Now to get into the nitty-gritty of it all. Can good works get you into heaven? The short answer is no.
When I was younger, I thought good people made it into heaven. It sounds logically sound, right? But I was wrong.
Here’s what the Bible has to say about the matter:
“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” (Romans 3:10–12 ESV).
“All of us have become like someone who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” (Isaiah 64:6 NIV).
“Whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” (James 2:10 NIV).
From these verses, we’ve learned:
- no one does good
- all our righteous acts are like filthy rags
- if you sin in just one area of the law you are guilty of breaking all of it.
If only good people get to heaven, none of us would make it there.
Does everyone go to heaven?
Some believe everyone goes to heaven. As nice as that might sound, it’s not true.
Here are a couple of Bible verses that indicate this:
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.” (Matthew 7:13 ESV).
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21 ESV).
Jesus tells us directly not everyone will go to heaven.
What does it take to get to heaven?
The bad news is we’re not good enough to get into heaven. We’ll never make it to heaven by our own works.
But there is good news – we don’t have to work our way up to heaven.
That’s the whole point of Jesus sacrificing himself. Jesus was and is perfect so we don’t have to be.
Does that mean we keep sinning? On the contrary, we should do our best to live an honorable life to God.
So, what does it take to get to heaven? It’s repenting of your sins and trusting in Jesus.
Are you saved?
Have you repented and trusted in Jesus?
Repentance means to turn away from sin and turn toward Jesus.
Ask yourself these questions to examine yourself:
- Do you have a change of heart and mind?
- Do you desire to do right before God?
- Do you trust in Jesus?
Prayer for salvation
Being saved is not about praying a salvation prayer. It’s a change of heart and mind. However, prayer can be used to communicate your change of heart and mind to God.
Disclaimer: *Prayer means nothing if you don’t genuinely mean it*
If you’d like to pray to God for salvation, use this prayer as an example.
Thank you for your sacrifice. I know I’m a sinner and I fall short of your perfect standard. I want to trust You and repent of my sins – help me do that. Please send your Holy Spirit to dwell within me and help me walk in-line with the Holy Spirit. In Your name I pray, Amen.
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