If you were standing before God right now and he asked you "Why should I let you into my heaven?", what would your answer be? Responses by some people might be:
"Well, I'm basically a good person. I have tried my best to live a good life and always do what is right."
"I'm a devout member of _________ Church" (fill in the blank with any religion or denomination).
As good as these answers are, none of them are good enough reasons for you to enter heaven and live with God forever. But, God does love you. He has a plan for your life and he longs to have a personal relationship with you. However, you first need to recognize what it is that separates you from God -- sin.
What Is Sin?
Sin is simply disobeying God. It's choosing your own way, instead of God's way. Since the very first sin of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, every person is born with a sinful nature, a natural tendency toward sinning. Did you ever notice that an infant does not have to be taught how to be selfish? From our earliest beginnings, our lives center around ourselves, instead of being centered on our God, our Creator.
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." 1 John 1:8
"If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." 1 John 1:10
What is the result of sin?
God cannot tolerate sin. God is perfect and his judgments are true. Our sinful nature separates us from God, both in this world and in the next. God cannot allow sin to enter into heaven, so our sinful nature condemns us to an eternity in hell, an eternity separated from God.
"For the wages of sin is death..." Romans 6:23
Even if we try to be as good as we can and do what we think is right, we can never measure up to the standard of perfection that God requires.
"Not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:9
But the story doesn't end there...
What did God do for you?
God loved us so much that he gave us the greatest gift. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth 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 through him might be saved." John 3:16-17
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23
"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
God sent his one and only Son into this world to be the sin sacrifice for us. Christ Jesus, the Son of God, came to this earth and lived a perfect life that we could never live. Jesus was fully God and fully man, the "God-man".
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God..." John 1:1
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth." John 1:14
Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins. Jesus took our place on the cross and paid the price for the sins of the whole world.
"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed..." Isaiah 53:5
Only the death of God could pay the debt caused by the sins of the whole world. Christ's death on the cross reconciled us to God, bridging the gap that was caused by our sin.
"Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God." 1 Peter 3:18
"I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." John 14:6
But Jesus is not dead! The grave did not hold him. Jesus was resurrected from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion.
"(Jesus) was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification." Romans 4:25
What should you do?
The only way Jesus can affect our lives, save us from our sins, and give us eternal life, is for us to receive him.
"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." John 1:12
Repent of your sin.
"Repent therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out." Acts 3:19
Repentance is more than just feeling sorry for your sin. It is a complete U-turn. It is turning away from your sin, and turning to God through Jesus. It is desiring God's will for your life, instead of desiring to sin.
"Repent and turn to God, and do works (which give evidence of) repentance." Acts 26:20
Place your faith in Jesus.
"By grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." Ephesians 2:8
Faith is more that just a head knowledge about Jesus. It is not just believing facts about Jesus.
"Thou believest that there is one God: thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." James 2:19
Faith is a knowledge in your heart. It is placing your trust in Jesus. It is like taking a trip on an airplane. You will never make the trip until you trust the plane enough to board it. Faith is more than saying "I believe", it is taking a step on your faith, and putting your trust in Jesus.
Surrender to Jesus as Lord of your life.
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Romans 10: 9-10
Surrendering to Jesus as Lord is more than just saying the words.
"Not every on that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." Matthew 7:21
To surrender is to give Jesus total control of your life. That means giving all you know of yourself to all you know of God. Failing to surrender to is like driving a car with God in the passenger seat. As long as you are driving, you are still in control. Surrendering to God is like letting God have the steering wheel of your life and trusting him to take you where he chooses.
Does this make sense to you? Would you be willing to receive God's gift of eternal life through Jesus right now? You can pray right now and receive Jesus as the Savior and Lord of your life.
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:13
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Revelation 3:20
If you call to God in repentance, putting your faith in him, and surrendering your life to him, Jesus will become your Savior and Lord. You can pray a prayer similar to this one:
Dear Lord, I know that I am a sinner. I know that because of my sin, I deserve punishment in hell. But you loved me so much, that you gave your son Jesus. Jesus was fully God and fully man. He lived a perfect life on this earth, and died a cruel death to pay for my sins. The, He rose from the dead and reigns with you eternally. Because of His death in my place, I can have forgiveness of my sins. Lord, I confess my sins, and I am willing to turn from my sins and receive Jesus as the Savior and Lord of my life. Thank you for saving me. In Jesus' name. Amen
Did you pray a prayer like the one above? If you did, and you meant it, you can be sure that you are saved and have eternal life. Now that you have become a Christian, what should you do next? See Growing in Faith.