How to Go to Heaven

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Image by Fuu J. Adapted for Redemption of Humanity. Used under licence.

The Bible’s Answer

According to the Bible, there is one of two places every person will end up in after they die: Heaven (eternal life with God in the afterlife) or Hell (eternal punishment apart from God in the afterlife) (John 3:16–18; Matthew 25:45–46). The Bible teaches that the only way a person will go to Heaven is by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone—not by good works (Galatians 2:15–16; Ephesians 2:8–9). The Lord Jesus himself said:

For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son [Jesus] and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:40, ESVUK)

I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

Furthermore, the Bible promises all Christians (Jesus’ followers):

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3:20–21)

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. (2 Corinthians 5:1–5)

Who Jesus Truly Is

It is impossible to believe in Jesus, though, without knowing who he actually is. Therefore, we must let the Bible answer this question. Jesus is true God (John 1:1, 14; John 20:28–29; Hebrews 1:8) and true man (1 Timothy 2:5; Colossians 2:9), the Eternal Creator of all things (John 1:1–3; Colossians 1:16–17). Jesus is also the Saviour of the world (1 John 4:14), the Promised Christ (the Greek variant of “Messiah“, meaning “anointed one”) of the Old Testament who was to restore humanity’s broken relationship with God (Luke 24:45–47; Isaiah 53:10–12; Job 19:25–27; Jeremiah 23:5–6).

For certain people have crept in unnoticed who … deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:4)

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then [Jesus] placed his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. (Revelation 1:17, NIVUK) (NOTE: God is the First and the Last according to Isaiah 44:6.)

… waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2:13–14, ESVUK)

The God of the Bible is the Father (Isaiah 64:8), Son (Jesus) (John 20:28–29), and Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3–4); three Persons (Matthew 3:16–17) of the one being (Isaiah 44:6, 8). It was the Son (the Second Person of the Trinity), not the Father or the Holy Spirit, who came to the Earth as a true human in the womb of the virgin Mary, by the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). The Bible says:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1, 14)

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Philippians 2:5–7, NIVUK)

What Jesus Has Done for Us

In order to truly believe in Jesus, we also have to know what he has done for humanity. All people are sinners who have broken God’s commandments (Romans 3:10–12, 23). Because God is holy, evildoers cannot dwell in his presence (Leviticus 11:45). Moreover, because God is just (Genesis 18:25), he will one day punish all people in Hell, according to the sins they committed (Isaiah 13:11; Matthew 25:46; Mark 9:43). This will happen either when we die (Hebrews 9:27), or when Jesus comes again to judge the living and the dead (2 Timothy 4:1), on an unknown day and hour (Matthew 24:44). However, because of God’s love for the world, he sent Jesus Christ into the world to save us (John 3:16).

To do this, Jesus obeyed the Father’s commandments perfectly and never sinned in his life (Hebrews 4:15). In so doing, he fulfilled the righteous requirement of God’s law for eternal life on our behalf (Matthew 5:48; Romans 5:19). Then, Jesus bore all our sins in his body on the cross (1 Peter 2:24), and died for all our sins as our substitute (1 Peter 3:18). In this way, Jesus fully paid our sin penalty (Colossians 2:13–14). On the third day, Jesus conquered sin and death through his resurrection from the dead (Romans 6:9–10), after which he appeared to his followers (Acts 2:32), before ascending back to Heaven at the right hand of the Father (Romans 8:34).

And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:2, ESVUK)

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, … (1 Corinthians 15:3–4)

Since the righteous requirement of God’s law has been fulfilled in Christ, and our punishment taken care of, Jesus has accomplished everything for our salvation. Whoever trusts in Jesus as their only Saviour (Acts 4:12) and believes that Jesus died for all their sins on the cross and rose again from the dead, will freely receive all the benefits of Jesus’ merits (Romans 3:21–22; 6:23; 10:9–10). These include: salvation from sin’s consequences (Romans 5:9–11), Jesus’ righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21), forgiveness from God (Colossians 1:13–14), and the Holy Spirit, who guarantees their gift of eternal life in Heaven (Ephesians 1:13–14) after we die or on the day of judgement (Hebrews 9:27–28).

That is why [Abraham’s] faith was “counted to him as righteousness”. But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in [God] who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. (Romans 4:22–25)

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8–9)

What To Do After You Believe

If you have placed your trust in Jesus Christ for your salvation, then the first thing you should do is get baptised in a Bible-believing church (one that adheres to the Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian creeds), preferably a conservative Lutheran Church. Jesus commands his followers to get baptised not only as a sign that they are his disciples (Matthew 28:19–20), but also because in it, the Holy Spirit unites us to Jesus’ death and resurrection, so that we receive the assurance of salvation (Romans 6:3–5; Mark 16:16).

You should stay in that church and regularly attend the worship services, in which God instructs us and strengthens our faith through his proclaimed Word, and the sacraments (Romans 10:14, 17; Matthew 26:26–28). The pastor and Christians there will be able to help you grow as a disciple of Christ. Part of this involves daily reading God’s Word, the Bible (John 17:17), which is our spiritual food (Matthew 4:4), and praying, by which we rely on God and improve our relationship with him (1 Peter 5:6–7).

You should also prepare for the second coming of Jesus by living a life of daily repentance. This means that daily, you should confess your sins to God in prayer and ask him for forgiveness (1 John 1:9; Matthew 6:12), and return to Jesus in faith, which believes that for Christ’s sake, God has forgiven you all your sins (Romans 5:9–11). You should then seek to right your wrongs and live a reformed life to the best of your ability (Luke 3:8), in accordance with Jesus Christ’s commandments (John 14:15). As a Christian, you are an adopted child of God (Romans 8:15–17), and you have the Triune God dwelling within your heart (1 Corinthians 3:16–17; John 14:23). Therefore, you can be sure that God loves you, and that Jesus Christ, your Good Shepherd, will lead you through this life to everlasting life (John 10:11, 14). Jesus said:

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one. (John 10:27–30)

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