How do I get to Heaven?
The answer is to this question is simple; believing in Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the only way to heaven. You don’t need money; you don’t need a rosary. You don’t need prayer beads or an offering. You don’t need a visit from an angel, and you don’t need to flog yourself, fill out a complex survey, enter a cleansing or detoxification process, or any of the above. Friends, God made it simple to get to heaven, but religion has made it complicated.
But Pastor Carl, how can you say that Jesus is the only way to heaven? How can you be so rigid? I didn’t say that friends, the Lord Jesus Christ said it himself. Let’s read it together:
John 14:6 –6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (the him is Thomas by the way, Thomas had asked how he could know the way to Heaven)
Let’s look at some more verses on the topic. The Apostles Peter and John were talking to the priests and Sadducees in the city of Jerusalem, 2000 years ago about this very topic of salvation when Peter said, in Acts 4:12: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
There is no other name, and there is simply no other way by which we may be saved, other than by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Here’s another verse: Psalm 74:12 -“You, O God, are my king from ages past, bringing salvation to the earth.”
God brought salvation to the earth through his Son, Jesus Christ. Here’s another classically known verse regarding salvation: John 3:16: 16 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.”
Friends, God the Father brought salvation to this earth through his Son and salvation is available right now.
There are other passages in the bible concerning this topic. Consider John chapter 3. Jesus has a discussion with Nicodemus, a Pharisee and religious leader (and possibly a member of the Sanhedrin, which was the Jewish governing body of the time.) He said to Nicodemus, in verse 3, that a man “must be born again to see the Kingdom of God.“ There are not many places in the scriptures that say, “you must” but this is one of those places. Let’s not get hung up on the term, “born again,” as it is only mentioned twice in the New Testament (the other reference is in 1 Peter chapter 1) as Jesus in this passage was referring to becoming ‘born spiritually,’ from death into life. We are all born into this world spiritually dead through the sin of Adam (Rom 3:23) and we need to be ‘born again’ to truly live. You are born spiritually dead because you are disconnected from God; we embrace Christ to receive spiritual life. The definition of death in the bible is never annihilation, but separation from God. Friends, it’s time to get ‘reconnected’ with your heavenly Father!
Jesus made it plain that we are born again from spiritual death to life when we receive Jesus. We are born naturally through the birth canal, but we must also be born spiritually by the name of Jesus. We need to be born twice — not once — to get to heaven, once physically and once spiritually.
Don’t all paths lead us to God?
Now many will say, “Wait a minute, I believe in God, and I believe there is a God. Surely there are many paths to the summit of “salvation mountain.” We may all take different paths, but the destination is still the same, Pastor. We are all trying to reach the same God at the top of the mountain.” Although that may sound like wisdom, friends, it is not. This may be the prevailing thought of popular culture (that there are many roads to God), but this is in fact a lie and NOT taught in scripture. You must believe in God the Father certainly, but the delineation is whether or not you believe in the Son.
1 John 5:12 makes it very explicit what we must do to be saved. “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” It doesn’t get any clearer than that. Believing in God is not enough; you must believe in the Son (the Lord Jesus Christ) and only then will you have life.
What this means is that nobody but nobody on this earth as a human being, born into sin, whether they be Muslim, Buddhist, Mormon, Jehovah’s witness, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Cabbalist, African, European, Asian, American, black, white, yellow or brown; none of those people groups can get to heaven unless they receive the Lord Jesus Christ into their heart as their personal Lord and Savior.
You might be surprised because I said Christian in that list. Sadly, there are groups of people that claim Christianity, yet have not received the Lord Jesus Christ. Even though they are faithful church attendees, they have not made the decision to follow Christ personally. Why? My old pastor, John Osteen, used to say a great analogy I will share here. “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than hanging around in a garage makes you a car.”
So the question now becomes, how then can I be saved? How do I get to heaven? Again, the bible makes it plain.
Romans 10:9-10 King James Version (KJV)
9 “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.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Believing and confessing
It’s as simple as believing in our heart and confessing with our mouths. We do not, I repeat, we DO NOT get to heaven by good works, we get there by believing on the Son of God. As a result of your salvation, you will have a desire to serve the Lord and fulfill your calling. Others will see a change in you and your behavior and know that something is different.
Don’t make the mistake that some make. Don’t feel that you have to clean up your life and “get right” before you come to the cross. When you feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit in your heart, simply confess your sin, acknowledge that Jesus was raised from the dead, and he will come into your heart. It’s as simple as that. You don’t go into some rehabilitation program before coming to Jesus. HE IS the rehabilitator, and HE is the ultimate restorer. In fact, let’s go one step further. The bible says you will be a new creature when you receive Jesus!
2 Corinthians 5:17 – “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Understand that the word for saved or salvation in the book of Romans is all encompassing. The word salvation in Greek is ‘sozo’; it has numerous definitions that include peace, nothing missing, nothing broken, and wholeness. By praying this simple prayer with me shortly, you are inviting the living God into your heart and become born again, a new creature, and make the change from death to life. The bible says that godly sorrow leads to repentance and that we need to repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand (Mark 1:15). Well friends, the Kingdom is right here; right now and God is inviting you now to receive his Son but you need to repent and acknowledge that you can’t make it to heaven without Christ. There is a sin issue, it must be dealt with.
Friends, if you would like to pray this prayer, you too can be born again from death to life and allow Jesus to restore you and lead you in a direction of wholeness and peace. I pray that you be sincere and mean it from the bottom of your heart, with the full understanding that you are giving your life to Christ and you are making a heartfelt and purposeful decision to serve Him today.
Pray this with me:
“Jesus Christ, I acknowledge that I am a sinner, and that you gave your life for me on the cross at Calvary 2000 years ago. I repent of my sins this day, and acknowledge that you are the only way to heaven. I acknowledge that you died and went to Hell and were raised from the dead. I receive you into my heart right now. I submit my life to you right now, Jesus and acknowledge the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide me from this day forth. In Jesus name I pray, amen.”
If you just prayed that prayer with me, then it’s time to celebrate. Friend, welcome to the kingdom of God. See you in heaven if we don’t get to meet down here.