Why Should I Let You Into My Heaven?
Can you imagine what it would be like to be taken into the presence of God and be required to give Him a reason you deserve to go into Heaven? I will never forget the first time someone asked me that question. The thought of giving God an eternally wrong answer struck me with fear. Since that time, however, I have had the privilege of asking this question to many people and have receive a variety of responses like, "I go to Church," "I'm a pretty good person," "I try to do right," "I'm not that bad," " I've been baptized," etc. Although these things may be good, according to Jesus they are all the wrong answers.
Jesus said, "Not every one 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. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." - Matthew 7:21-23
Notice that Jesus said "Many will say..." This is going to be a very real and terrifying event for many people. Even for those who may consider themselves to be "good" or even "religious." You see, these people that Jesus tells us about are very religious. They "prophesied," they "cast out devils," and they did "many wonderful works," all in the name of Jesus, but they still failed to meet God's requirement. Notice that Jesus did not tell them that they should have done more good works, joined a church, or given more money, nor did He require baptism. Although these things are good to do as a Christian, they cannot be done to make you a Christian. As you can see, telling Jesus about all the great things that you have done is the wrong answer. Listen to what God says about this in other parts of the Bible:
"Not by works of
righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved
us." - Titus 3:5a
"For by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." - Galatians 2:16b
"Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." - Romans 3:28
According to God, it is not possible for a person to work hard enough or long enough to earn Heaven. Not only that, but, if this is the reason the good things were done, they have been done in vain. You see, there is a reason that we don't need to work for our salvation and it is simple: you don't need to earn what's already been paid for. God is still in control, and He has made a simple and free way for man to enter heaven.
To better understand God's plan, we need to briefly look at man's problem. When God created the earth and placed man on it, all things were perfect, including man's relationship to God. Then God told Adam that he had only one rule: "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" - Genesis 2:16-17. As we know, Adam did break God's law, and he sinned against God. And, just as God promised, that day Adam died. Understand, death is the soul of a man separating from the body or from God. Physical death is the soul separating from the body, but spiritual death is the soul separating from God.
We know that God was primarily warning Adam of spiritual death (separation from God) because that is exactly what happened to Adam the day he sinned. Because of his sin, Adam could no longer be in the presence of God. This problem is not just Adam's. God tells us, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:" - Romans 5:12. There is not a single person that could stand before God and honestly say that he has never sinned "For all have sinned, and come short of the of the glory of God" - Romans 3:23. Therefore we are in the same situation as Adam. The problem, however, only gets worse at physical death because, when the soul leaves the body, sin will not allow the soul to enter into God's presence in Heaven. There is only one other eternal place. Hell. This is not God's will for anyone, and, in His mercy, He offers a solution to anyone who will accept it.
God's love for man is so great that His plan involved sacrificing part of Himself as a substitute for the sins of the world. God sent his only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die for our sins. Jesus came out of Heaven, was born of a virgin, lived a perfectly sinless life, and then went to the cross as our substitute. "For he [God] hath made him [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." - II Corinthians 5:21. Miraculously, when Jesus was crucified, God took our sins and placed them on Jesus. At the same time He made it possible for us to receive His righteousness. Just moments prior to His death, Jesus said, "It is finished" - John 19:30b. Jesus wanted us to know for all eternity that His death on the cross was payment in full for our sins. After His death He was buried, and three days later He bodily rose from the dead. All this was done that we might have eternal life.
Although this payment for sin is sufficient to cover the sins of the whole world, it does not automatically apply to everyone in the world. The reason is that salvation from the penalty of our sin is a gift. The word gift is exactly how God refers to it: "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" - Romans 6:23. This gift is truly the most prefect and valuable gift that has ever been offered.
As with any gift, salvation can be offered without being received. Many times people just reject the fact that they have a need for a Savior and other times people are trusting in themselves. They envision themselves standing at the gate of Heaven telling an angel about all the good things they have done. The fact is, that will never happen, for it is the Lord that we will stand before. As we saw earlier, a multitude of good works fail to gain entrance in Heaven. Still others fail to receive God's gift of salvation because they are unwilling to accept God's terms.
God tells us that we must have the right heart condition. First, we must be willing to put our total faith in Christ for our salvation. "For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast:" - Ephesians 2:8,9. We must be willing to abandon all faith in our church membership, our baptism, and all the good things that we have done. It is Jesus Christ that paid the price for our sin and He alone. Second, we must have a heart of repentance: "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish:" - Luke 13:3b. Repentance starts with a genuine sorrow about your sin: "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation" - II Corinthians 7:10a. And a heart that is genuinely sorry will desire to do something about it. True repentance is a total change of mind with a willingness to do that which is right and turn away from sin. This does not mean that you have to clean up your life to be saved, but it does mean that you are willing to make Jesus the Lord of your life and that you are willing to change for Him.
Finally, we must accept the Gift that is offered. "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" - Romans 10:13. Have you done this? Can you go back to a time in your life when you called upon the Lord with a heart of repentance and faith? If not, why don't you settle the issue right now, once and for all. Simply humble yourself before God in prayer, take Him at His word, and receive Jesus into your life as Lord and Savior. If you will pray the following prayer and mean it with your whole heart, He will save you.
"Lord Jesus, I need You. I realize I am a sinner and can not save myself. I believe that You died on the cross for my sins and rose from the dead. I repent of my sins and put my total faith in You alone as my Savior. Take control of my life and help me to follow you in obedience. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me. Amen"
If you just prayed this prayer and meant it, congratulations! You now have the only acceptable answer to God for the question on the front. The answer would go something like this "Lord, I do not deserve to be saved from the penalty of my sins. It is only through Your mercy and grace that there was a point and time where I chose to make Jesus the Lord and Savior of my life."
If you just prayed to receive Christ as your Savior, please let us know so we can rejoice with you, and send you some free information about growing in your new life with Christ.
Please contact us here at:
The Baptist Tabernacle Church, 3670 Ladson Rd., Ladson, SC 29456, (843) 851-2165
or EMAIL Pastor Dave Harrison
We would like to thank Brother Dean Myers for this tract.