This month's view asks the two most important questions concerning your future and hope that you need to consider. It is extremely important to "...always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear."1
Two Important Questions
A dear friend, named Lyle, recently shared in a letter how he felt led to ask his neighbor this first question: "Have you come to a place in your thinking where you know for certain that when you die you will go to Heaven?" His neighbor wasn't certain, like many who I have shared with over the years.
Here's another question: "Suppose that you were to die today and stand before God, and He were to say to you, 'Why should I let you into my heaven?' What would you say?"
I've asked this second question numerous times. Many say they can't imagine why God would want them in His Heaven, while telling me of their sinful lifestyle. Others try to qualify for heaven by being Americans, a church goer, a giver to the poor, or a number of other good works.
My friend's neighbor became certain of her future and hope, and you too, can know that you are heaven bound. It is very important '...that you know you have eternal life,"2 and the reason why.
Heaven's A Free Gift
If a company on the internet offers you something for free, you expect it to have no hidden costs. Heaven is free with no strings attached, this "...free Gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord."3
Some realize they don't deserve eternal life, but many think they can earn it by their good works. To the contrary, "For by grace [God's ability] you have been saved through faith [in God's grace], and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."4
Man is a sinner by birth. "When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. Adam's sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. The sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over us, but all who receive God's wonderful gracious gift of righteousness will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ."5
No matter how hard you work, you cannot save yourself. "God saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us because of what Jesus Christ our Savior did. He declared us not guilty because of His great kindness. And now we know that we will inherit eternal life."6
God is Love
I took Heaven as a free gift in 1975. I didn't deserve it, because I was a sinner. I couldn't save myself, but God was merciful on me, because He didn't want to punish me. "The Lord wasn't being slow about His promise to return, as some people think. No, He was being patient for my sake. He didn't want me to perish, so He gave me time to repent."7
Today, He is giving you the chance to repent. God is just, and He will surely punish sin. "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord."8 This was Good News to me. Christ took my place on the cross for my sin. He was buried and He rose from the dead to give me eternal life. "For God made Christ, who never sinned to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ."9
The gift is none other than God giving Himself to us in the body of Jesus Christ, thereby establishing personal relationship with mankind. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life."10 Listen, "...God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. So whoever has God's Son has life; whoever does not have His Son does not have life."11
Receive Jesus Today!
Do you have the life of Jesus in your heart? If you receive His payment for your sin and resurrected life, you'll be ready for Heaven. "For we are all Children of God by faith in Christ Jesus."12
Faith is trusting in Jesus Christ alone for your righteousness, which is not only right standing with God, but the ability to stand in God's presence without any sense of sin, guilt, and inferiority. "...to all who believe Jesus, and accept Him, He gives the right to become Children of God. They are reborn! This rebirth comes from God."13
Repentance is absolutely necessary to John the Baptist, Jesus, and Peter. "Each of you must turn from your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."14 Repentance means a simple change of mind, heart, and will. If you are trusting in your good works for righteousness instead of by faith in Jesus Christ, you must repent of idolatry.
God wants us to trust in the sacrifice of Jesus. He wants us to receive a quality of righteousness that is so pure that it will qualify us for all God has and will empower us to live as we should. He wants us to have a righteousness that is ours apart from our performance -- a righteousness that is found only in Jesus. This is why Jesus said, "Unless our righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the Kingdom of Heaven."15
A Prayer For You ...
Heavenly Father, in the Name of Jesus, I surrender to you, repenting of my sins, and for trusting in my good works for righteousness. I believe that You sent Your Son Jesus to take my sin, guilt, and pain upon Himself, so that I could be made right with You. I believe my sins are completely forgiven because of the precious blood of Jesus. I believe that You raised Jesus from the dead, and I confess Jesus as Lord with my mouth. Forgive me for trying to save myself by my own works. I turn to You with all my heart and trust only in the finished work of Calvary. Thank You for this awesome gift of eternal life. Thank You for taking up residence in my heart and for inviting me into Your glorious kingdom. I commit my life to serving before Your throne forever. Amen.
1 1 Pet. 3:15
2 1 John 5:13
3 Rom. 6:23b
4 Eph. 2:8, 9
5 Rom. 5:12, 17
6 Tit. 3:5-7
7 2 Pet. 3:9
8 Rom. 6:23
9 2 Cor. 5:21
10 John 3:16
11 1 John 5:11, 12
12 Gal. 3:26
13 John 1:12, 13
14 Acts 2:38
15 Matt. 5:20
Acknowledgement: A special thanks to Sherry for transcribing this months view!