By Bobbie Carnes
Q: How do I get to heaven?
A: You can’t. There is nothing you can do to get there. It doesn’t matter what kind of person you are. You can’t be good enough or do enough good things is this life to get you a ticket. You can be a murderer or considered a pretty good person who gives to charity and volunteers in the soup kitchen. Neither of these people is going to make it in. That is on their own!
Q: Well then who can get in?
A: First of all to get in you must understand who rules Heaven.
Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
Acts 17: 24-25: “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.”
Col. 1:16: “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him.
Ps 115:3: “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.”
So, God made everything. He is in control of everything. Our God is totally, absolutely self-sufficient. He has no needs and depends on no one or any force outside of Himself. According to Eph. 1:5, He does things “according to the good pleasure of His will.”
But, here is something else about God. God says in many places in the Bible, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Pet. 1:16)
In heaven right now He is being declared holy. Rev. 4:8: “And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”
What is holiness? It is the absolute and complete absence of sin.
So you see the problem? We have a completely in control God, who made everything, and is holy, and can’t abide sin. So how can He let us, who are sinful to the core, into His perfect, sinless heaven? He can’t. He won’t! A Change has to occur!
But here’s the good news. God says of Himself (Exodus 34:6) “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth.
Because He is all those things and loves us, He made us to have fellowship with Him. Unbelievable!
But because our parent human beings Adam and Eve decided to disobey God and rebel against Him, we are all born rebels and sinners. We can’t fix ourselves. The Bible says we are dead in our trespass and sins (Eph. 2). Dead people can’t do anything. We are in a living grave.
So God sent Jesus, His Son, to earth to rescue us. He set aside His glorious life in heaven to be born on earth as one of us. He lived a perfect life, never sinned, and died a bloody, horrific death on a cross. On the cross God put all the sins of his people on Jesus. He absorbed the wrath of God that we all deserved. He died and He rose from the dead three days later. He is alive and He sits at the right hand of God the Father and makes intercession for His people.
This allows for the greatest exchange in history. All ours sins were imputed to Jesus so we could be forgiven and declared not guilty in God’s court. He died in our place and took the punishment you and I deserved. But more than that, Jesus’ perfect sinless life was imputed to us. So when God looks on us he sees His Son’s righteousness. I am righteous, perfect, sinless before God. That’s referred to as the great exchange. Or simply: Me: “Jesus here’s my sin”. Jesus: “Beloved, here’s my righteousness.”
How do you get in on this exchange and be assured you go to heaven when you die?
When Jesus preached, the first thing He said was, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Repent, means turn from your sins. Ask God to forgive you for being a sinner. Ask Him for forgiveness of the sins you have committed.
Then the Bible says, “… if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom. 10:9)
There is nothing you can do to get yourself into heaven except to repent and believe. And those are gifts from God also! When God comes to a person, He calls them, He draws them, and He awakens them from the dead spiritual death they are in, and then they are given the spiritual abilities to confess, repent, trust in Christ and call upon Him believing in Jesus as their Savior.
Therefore, as Paul says in Acts 17:30–31, “God commands all men everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all men by raising him from the dead.”