How Does A Person Get To Heaven?
By David J. Stewart | May 2002 | Updated April 2016
Do you know for sure my friend, that if you died today, you would go to heaven? If you ask most people this question, they simply aren’t sure. Most people I have witnessed to over the years “thought” they were going to heaven, but they were not sure. How sad! How tragic! Billions of people throughout the world do NOT have the blessed assurance of salvation.
Oh, listen to me friend! You can KNOW beyond the shadow of any doubt that you are a Child of God. 1st John 5:13 states, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” What a privilege it always is for me to share with people the wondrous truth of God’s Word, that you may KNOW that you have eternal life. God loves people!!! God wants you to be His Child. He will not force you to be saved, you alone must make that decision for Christ. NOTE: All Scriptures are quoted from the King James Bible.
It is very easy to be saved―Simply BELIEVE THE GOSPEL Oh sinner!
You must know that you are a “sinner” to be saved. Otherwise why would you need a Savior? We are all sinners. Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Years ago I heard in the news that the leaders of the country of France denied being “SINNERS.” They admitted to having “faults,” but declared to the world that they are “not sinners.” They are liars! 1st John 1:8-10 teaches that anyone who denies being a SINNER is a liar and the truth is not in them (they are not saved).
The purpose of God’s law is stated in Romans 3:19, “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” Galatians 3:24, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” God’s law is a measuring stick, by which when men compare themselves they fall short of the glory of God, which is total moral perfection. No human being, except the Lord Jesus Christ, has ever lived a perfect life. ALL MANKIND ARE SINNERS. We are sinners by nature and by choice. Everyone commits sin!
Thus, we need a Savior, someone else to pay our debt of sin. God in His unconditional love sent His only begotten Son into the world, to be rejected, beaten, mocked and spit upon, crucified upon a cross FOR OUR SINS! Jesus was buried and then bodily raised up three days later. The Holy Bible in 1st Corinthians 15:-14 defines “THE GOSPEL”:
1st Corinthians 15:1-4, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”
With this precious passage of Scripture in view, it ought to be obvious how unbiblical and inaccurate many of the religious teachings that we hear these days are concerning salvation! It is common nowadays on religious radio to hear such inaccurate statements concerning salvation as: “Ask Jesus into your heart,” or “Invite Jesus into your life,” or “Declare ‘Jesus is Lord’ to be saved,” or “Turn from sin,” or “Follow Jesus Christ,” or “Make Jesus the Lord of your life” to become God’s child, et cetera. NONE of these constitute THE GOSPEL!!!
Judas followed Christ, being one of His very hand-picked apostles. Yet, Judas went to Hell in unbelief. The unsaved Pharisees were the respected religious leaders of Israel. Religion cannot get a person into Heaven. In Acts 10:1-2, a centurion (commander over 100 soldiers) named Corneliuswas religious but unsaved—he was a devout man who feared God, prayed always, and gave alms to the poor, but he was lost and on his way to the Lake of Fire. Please don’t miss that important truth! All around the world, churches are filled with good people who love God and love their neighbour, praying to God and giving to the poor; yet they have never been born-again by the Holy Spirit of God. Satan’s greatest weapon is to con people into living the Christian life without ever being born-again.
We learn that Cornelius got saved later in Acts chapter 10, praise the Lord!:
Acts 10:39-40 and 43-44, “And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom [Jesus] they slew and hanged on a tree [the cross]: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly … To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.”
When a person believes the Gospel (or receives the Gospel as full-payment for their sins), i.e., believing on the Lord Jesus Christ Who died on the cross for their sins and resurrected three days later, THEY ARE SAVED!!! The Bible calls this, “THE HEARING OF FAITH.” The apostle Paul wrote a letter of concern to the church at Galatia. Paul said he only wanted to know ONE THING, that is, How did they get the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (i.e., How did they get saved?):
Galatians 3:2, “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit [Holy Spirit] by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”
In other words, when you hear the Gospel preached, if you BELIEVE what you hear, you are saved. To be “saved” means to be “born-again” into God’s heavenly family. Jesus warned everyone in John 3:3 that “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Have you been born anew friend, by the Holy Spirit of God, by faith in the Gospel?
Hebrews 4:2 says that the Jews in the Wilderness heard Moses preach the Gospel Hebrews 4:2, “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” When a person hears the Gospel and believes it, they are saved. It is that easy and simple to be saved. Please notice that there is no mention in Acts 10:39-44 or Galatians 3:2 or Hebrews 4:2 about turning from sins or praying a prayer or getting water baptized or speaking in tongues or making Jesus Lord of your life to be saved.
Clearly, many modern churches and religious teachers have strayed woefully from the Gospel as taught in the Holy Scriptures!!! This is why, Biblically, many people will be woefully horrified in eternity when they are denied entrance through the pearly gates of Heaven. Luke 13:23-24, “Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.”
Beware Of False Prophets
Matthew 7:22-23, “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.”
The preceding passage of Scripture is one of the most disturbing, intriguing and scary truths in the Holy Bible. These were religious people. They preached in Jesus’ precious name. They did many wonderful works in Jesus’ name. They even cast out devils in Jesus’ name. These were very sincere people! They were churchgoers! They followed Jesus as their Lord, continually calling Him “Lord, Lord.” Yet, something went horribly WRONG! How could they be unsaved and rejected on Judgment Day as workers of iniquity? Oh, please don’t miss this truth my friend. These religious folks spent their lives doing good works and preaching in Jesus’ name, but the Lord calls them “WORKERS OF INIQUITY”!
All across America and the world, there are religious groups and religious workers whom God considers EVILDOERS! How can that be? How could preaching in Jesus’ name be evil? Wow! What is going on here? The Bible tells us the simple answer, and it is something that Satan has been using to blind people for millenniums, to prevent them from being saved. Matthew 7:21 tells us, “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.” These religious workers in Matthew 7:22-23, who preached in Jesus’ name were evil because they didn’t BELIEVE THE GOSPEL. John 6:40 plainly tells us what is “THE WILL OF THE FATHER” concerning salvation. John 6:40, “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” Oh friend, there is a fine line between faith and foolishness.
These wicked false prophets were living the Christian life, but had never been born-again. Judas lived as a Christian, but was not saved. They were going about to “ESTABLISH THEIR OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Romans 10:3-4, “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” Salvation results when a person submits them self to God’s imputed righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ. Literally, “to impute” means that God transfers our sins to Christ, and transfers Christ’s righteousness to us. Multitudes of sincerely ignorant religious people spend their lives living the Christian life, telling other people to “Invite Jesus into their life” and “Say ‘Jesus is Lord’ to be saved”; but they have never experienced the miraculous saving-power of THE GOSPEL.
The Apostle Paul warned us in 2nd Corinthians 11:4 that false prophets would come, preaching “another Jesus” and “another Gospel” and“another spirit.” Nearly all false religions today deny or diminish Jesus’ deity, i.e., the Biblical truth that Jesus came to this earth as the Godhead incarnate (in the flesh). Jesus is Almighty God! Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that Jesus was Michael the archangel incarnate, and not God almighty. If that is what you believe, you are not saved.
There is nothing you need to give up to be saved except unbelief! Though some people would like to make you think you have to stop sinning to be saved, it is simply not true. If this were the case, we would all burn in Hellfire, because even the best Christians still commit sin. Jesus doesn’t forgive sin, He paid for it on the cross, and that’s how He forgave everyone. That’s why eternal life is offered as a “free gift” to anyone who wants it (Romans 5:15, 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-10). The moment that we believe, we are saved. You don’t need to “Ask Jesus to save you,” because God has already promised to “SAVE THEM THAT BELIEVE” (1st Corinthians 1:21). We are saved by BELIEVING, not by praying, asking, surrendering, following, confessing, committing, or saying “Jesus is Lord.”
Mark 1:15, “…repent ye, and believe the gospel.” Carefully notice that Mark 1:15 speaks of repentance (i.e., a change of mind) to “believe the Gospel,” not “turning from sins” to believe the Gospel. John 3:20, “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” Hence, repentance is seeing my need as a sinner, acknowledging that I am as guilty a sinner as God hath declared me to be in His holy Word.
Pastor Harry Ironside (1876-1951) correctly states:
“Which comes first, repentance or faith? In Scripture we read, ‘Repent ye, and believe the gospel.’ Yet we find true believers exhorted to ‘repent, and do the first works.’ So intimately are the two related that you cannot have one without the other. The man who believes God repents; the repentant soul puts his trust in the Lord when the Gospel is revealed to him. Theologians may wrangle over this, but the fact is, no man repents until the Holy Spirit produces repentance in his soul through the truth. No man believes the Gospel and rests in it for his own salvation until he has judged himself as a needy sinner before God. And this is repentance.”
SOURCE: Dr. Harry A. Ironside; Except Ye Repent, p. 16).
Any changes of attitude and behavior in a person’s life results from the transforming power of the Holy Spirit Who indwells every believer from the time of salvation. Albeit, this is entirely a matter of DISCIPLESHIP and not SALVATION. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” The change is NOT a prerequisite to be saved; but comes through the power of the Holy Spirit once a person is in Christ (i.e., saved).
Does a person have to give up their sins to be saved? The answer is “No.” Although even one sin can keep a person out of Heaven (James 2:10), there is only one sin that can prevent a person from being SAVED, and that is the sin of UNBELIEF. For we read in Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” This is a promise from God.
Many false prophets today are teaching a damnable heresy called “Lordship Salvation.” If you’re not a guilty sinner bound for Hellfire, then you wouldn’t need a Savior. Does a person have to clean up one’s life of sin to be saved? The answer is emphatically “No.” For if this were true, it would amount to a works-based salvation. Ephesians 2:8,9 plainly tell us… “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.” Again we read in Romans 4:5… “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Our eternal salvation is based upon our faith in Christ’s work of redemption to forgive our sins, and not upon anything we can do to merit salvation. No one can merit (i.e., earn) salvation, for it is the FREE GIFT of God (Romans 5:15; 6:23), paid for by Jesus’ precious blood (1st Peter 1:18,19).
As Dr. John R. Rice once said―“To turn to Christ in faith is to turn one’s back on sin.” I like that. Christ wants to clean up our life through the power of His Holy Spirit. It takes time for the Holy Spirit to work in a person’s heart (and everybody is different). Please understand that it is the indwelling Holy Spirit, and not your own strength, that empowers you to overcome sinful addictions and temptation in life. It is Jesus Christ Who lives the Christian life through me (Galatians 2:20; Romans 8:9).
If you don’t see yourself as a dirty rotten sinner, then you truly don’t realize just how sinful you are (1st John 1:8,10). We are all wicked sinners, deserving of Hellfire (Romans 3:10,19-23). This is why Christ needed to die upon the cross, and shed His own precious blood, for our many sins. We simply cannot do anything to redeem ourselves. Salvation is of God friend, not of yourself. No church or organization can assure you of Heaven. No priest can forgive your sins. Being water baptized will just get you wet. Religion cannot save you in the least. It’s the Gospel of Jesus Christ or Hell forever.
Salvation is not found in a religion, but in a person―The Lord Jesus Christ!!!