Is it possible to know whether or not we will go to Heaven when we die?
The Bible says, "These things have I written...that ye may know that ye have eternal life..." I John 5:13
Can we earn our way to Heaven by trying to be a good person?
The Bible says, "...the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23b)
If we had to work our way to Heaven, it would not be a gift and the Bible would not have used the word "gift" to describe it. According to the Scriptures, if we will be saved it is "...by grace through faith, and...not of works..." (Ephesians 2:8-9). We could never do anything good enough to earn a place in Heaven. We have all sinned against God and that makes us unworthy of Heaven. This includes you. Instead of trying to earn our way, we must seek God's forgiveness and receive a pardon as a gift by His grace.
What if we die without God's forgiveness?
God, our Creator, rules the Universe. He must punish sin and evil because He is holy and just. The penalty for our sin is more than physical death. It is to be forever excluded from the presence of God in a place that Jesus described as going away "into everlasting punishment..." (Matthew 25:46).
God's Word refers to being sentenced eternally to the Lake of Fire as "the second death"
(Revelation 20:12-15; 21:8). The penalty is eternal because sin is against the eternal God and His eternal law, and lost sinners will continue to be spiritually unclean throughout eternity.
Without God's forgiveness, we are doomed.
Why did Jesus die on the cross?
God loves us and designed a plan to save us from our sins.
God the Father sent the Son to become a man in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus was born of a virgin and lived a sinless life. Since He was God and man, and sinless, His death was able to purchase forgiveness for the sins of the world. Jesus loves us and willingly sacrificed His life for us in order to take the punishment for our sins and to pay our penalty. Through Christ's death, God can still be righteous and just when he forgives our sins because Jesus paid the penalty.
God showed "...His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)
After His crucifixion, Jesus arose from the dead, conquering sin and death.
Since Jesus died for us, does that mean that my sins are forgiven?
We are not forgiven until we ask Him to save and forgive us.
We must trust and rely on Jesus and His death on the cross, rather than trusting in our own goodness, when we ask God's forgiveness. That's what it means to believe in Jesus. There must be a definite, specific point when we place our faith in Jesus and receive God's gift of eternal life by faith. God commands us to believe the good news that Jesus died for our sins and rose again and to trust in Him as our Savior.
If we refuse to believe in Jesus, we will not be forgiven, we will not be rescued from our sins.
To receive God's gift of eternal life, do we first have to quit all our sins and clean up our life?
We can come to Him just as we are. However, asking for God's forgiveness only has meaning if we have a change in attitude in which we are sorry for our sins and willing to turn from them to go God's way. The Bible calls this change in attitude "repentance". How can we ask God to forgive us of a life of sin for which we have no remorse, and if we have no desire to be in a right relationship with Him? God's offer of mercy and forgiveness is only for repentant sinners. Jesus said that "repentance and remission (forgiveness) of sins should be preached in His name among all nations..." (Luke 24:47)
Asking God for forgiveness through Christ's sacrifice is more than just receiving a "fire insurance policy" to protect us from Hell. It is the way a rebellious sinner is reconciled to his Creator. It is the way to restoring our relationship with God that was broken through our sins against Him.
If I want to repent of my sins and receive God's gift of eternal life, what should I tell the Lord?
Pray something like this: Dear God, I believe that Jesus died for me and rose from the dead. I am sorry for my sins. Please forgive me and save me. Jesus, I receive You into my life as my Lord and Savior, and I trust You alone and Your death on the cross for my forgiveness. Please change my heart and make me the person you want me to be, and help me to follow You.
This suggested prayer is not a set of magic words. It's not so important that you pray these exact words, but that your heart expresses a desire to be made right with God, so you want to forsake your life of sinful rebellion, receive God's forgiveness, and put your trust in Jesus and what He did to provide your forgiveness. You want God to change your heart, give you eternal life, and you want Jesus in your life as your Savior and Lord (Master).
If you prayed and received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, the evidence that you were sincere will be a desire to turn from sin to follow Christ.
"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."John 3:36
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