If You Died Tonight Would You Go To Heaven Or Hell?
That is the most important question to which a person needs to know the answer. The Bible tells us that after we die then we are going to stand in judgment for what we have done in this life.
Hebrews 9:27 (KJV) And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
Hell is a real place. It is a place of fire and torment. In the gospel of Luke we find the account of a rich man that died and went to hell and he lifted up his eyes in torment.
Luke 16:22 (KJV) And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
Luke 16:23 (KJV) And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
Luke 16:24 (KJV) And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
Hell is a place of fire and torment, a place no one should have a desire to be. So, the ultimate question is, how do you go to heaven?
The Five Steps Of Salvation
There are 5 things that you must do in order to be saved.
1) Recognize That You Are A Sinner
If you aren’t a sinner then you don’t need to be saved. You should not have a fear of dying and going to hell because you have never done anything wrong. However, the Bible teaches us that we have all sinned.
Romans 3:10 (KJV) As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
Romans 3:23 (KJV) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
1 John 1:10 (KJV) If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
2) Recognize That You Can’t Save Yourself
A) The Bad News
Most people think that if their good deeds out-weigh their bad deeds then they will go to heaven. The only problem is that the Bible teaches that if you break one commandment it is like you have broken all of the commandments.
James 2:10 (KJV) For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
James 2:11 (KJV) For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.
So, if you are trying to do good deeds in order to get to heaven then you are going to have to be perfect. That is some pretty bad news because no one is without sin. The other bad news is that the penalty of sin is death and hell.
Romans 6:23 (KJV) For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Matthew 25:31 (KJV) ¶ When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
Matthew 25:32 (KJV) And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
Matthew 25:33 (KJV) And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
Matthew 25:41 (KJV) Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
B) The Good News
Salvation Is A Gift That Is Given, Not A Payment That Is Earned
The good news is that we don’t get to heaven by our good deeds, by our works. Salvation is a gift of God that is not related to our works.
Ephesians 2:8 (KJV) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Ephesians 2:9 (KJV) Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Ephesians 2:10 (KJV) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
There are three important things to notice in these verses.
“Not of works” – The Bible says that your salvation is not based on your works. In other words, your good or bad deeds have nothing to do with your salvation.
“it is the gift of God” – Gifts are not earned, they are merely accepted.
“by grace are ye saved” – Grace is:
- receiving something good,
- that we don’t deserved,
- in spite of our bad behavior,
- just because the giver loves us.
For example, when I was a child I was like any other child. Mom and dad said things to the effect of, “No, No, No. Stand in the corner. You’re grounded. No desert for you. Spank, Spank.” However, on my birthday and on Christmas they gave me a present. I didn’t get those presents because I was the most wonderful child in the world. The presents that I received were not earned nor were they deserved. They were not based on my behavior, they were based on mom and dad’s love for me. The wonderful thing is that because mom and dad loved me, even when I was bad, I still got a gift.
That is the way salvation is. It is based on God’s love for man, not on man’s behavior. Just like parents love their children (even when they are bad) God loves us (even though we are sinners) and salvation (the way into heaven) is based on God’s love for us, not on our good deed for him.
The Gift That Was Given Was God’s Only Begotten Son
God loved us so much that he gave us a gift, the gift was his only begotten Son.
John 3:16 (KJV) 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.
This is the most well known verse in the Bible and it says a few important things.
“God so loved the world” – I have been alive long enough to realize that there are some people out there that are pretty hard to love. I may not love them but God does. (Some people may find me hard to love but (wonderful news) God loves me!
“he gave his only begotten Son” – When I was a child and my parents gave me a gift I got things like a toy car, gun, or a video game. But the gift that God gave to man is that man deserved to be punished and Jesus Christ took our punishment in our place. That is a lot of love.
The Way Jesus Was Given – He Died For Our Sins
The way that Jesus was given as a gift is that he took the punishment that we should have received, he died for our sins.
1 Corinthians 15:3 (KJV) For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
1 Corinthians 15:4 (KJV) And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Every now and then I run into people that had a brothe / sister / friend take punishment for them that they should have received. They have a lot of love for that person for that. But I have never run into some one that has a brother / sister / friend that took all of their punishment for them every single time they messed up. Their brother / sister / friend only took their punishment once or twice and that was it.
But when Jesus died on the cross he took the punishment for all of our past, present, and future sins. He paid the price for it all, for ever. That is a lot of love.
A Gift, Given Out Of Love, For All Mankind
As we read through the Bible we notice that salvation is never obtained by a work or works that we do, it is a gift that is given to us by the mercy and grace of God because He loves us.
Titus 3:5 (KJV) Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
And so what we see in the Bible is that salvation (the way into heaven) is:
- not based on our works
- it is through God’s mercy (not punishing us like we deserve)
- it is through God’s grace (giving us good things, that we don’t deserved, in spite of our bad behavior, just because the giver loves us)
- he gave us a gift that was Jesus dying for our sins in our place.
What great news! When Jesus died on the cross he made it possible for all men, no matter how good or bad they are, to enter into heaven. The sad news is that, even though the gift of eternal life is offered to all men, few men will accept the gift. How sad. That would be like if Bill Gates came to me and offered me one billion dollars and I refused it. What a change it would make in my life. But going to heaven after you die is more important than wealth on earth. We will all die and leave it behind but where we end up after we die is for ever. So, the question is, how do you accept the gift?
3) Recognize That Jesus Is God
The first thing to do is to recognize that Jesus Christ is God. God (Jesus Christ) will not allow us into heaven if we do not recognize Him (Jesus Christ) as God.
How would you react if someone came over to your home and refused to recognize you as the head of your home? You would throw them out. That is the same way that it is with God. If we aren’t going to recognize who the true God is (and submit to Him) then we won’t be in His home (heaven).
1 John 5:20 (KJV) And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
God is a trinity, just like man is a trinity. Man is composed of a body, soul, and spirit. Death is when our soul and spirit leave our body. Our body is left behind on earth but our spiritual being stands before God in judgment. We are not three people, just one person, but composed of a body, soul, and spirit.
The same is true about God, He is a trinity: one God composed of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
1 John 5:7 (KJV) For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
Jesus is God manifest in the flesh.
1 Timothy 3:16 (KJV) And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
4) Repent Of Your Sins
Repentance is not the same thing as “penance”. The Greek definition of repentance is: to think differently or afterwards, i.e. reconsider (morally, feel compunction):—repent (Strong’s Greek)
Repentance is having a sorrow for having sinned, a turning away from the sin toward God, having a desire to stop sinning and to live holy.
2 Corinthians 7:9 (KJV) Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.
2 Corinthians 7:10 (KJV) For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
A) God Defines Sin, Not Man
1 John 3:4 (KJV) ¶ Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
The first step in repentance is recognizing that what the Bible says about sin is correct. Man does not have the privilege of determining for themselves what is right and wrong. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, when we stand before God in judgement, he would ask us what our system of beliefs is so that he could judge us according to our ideas and opinions. I think every one would say, “God, I do believe that everything I did was OK.”
The sad news is, that isn’t going to happen. When you stand before God in judgement he is going to open up the Bible and go to the 10 Commandments and compare your works to those.
B) Our Attitude Towards God’s Definition Of Sin
There are two ways people respond when they are confronted with their sin.
Ahab – An Example Of Most People’s Feelings About Sin
The most common way is to get upset and angry. They say things like:
“Stop judging me. You worry about your sin and I’ll worry about mine. I don’t care what the Bible says. I don’t have those convictions. Stop being a trouble maker.”
King Ahab is a good example of this attitude. He was a wicked king in Israel. One of his many sins was that he murdered a man for his vineyard.
1 Kings 21:17 (KJV) ¶ And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying,
1 Kings 21:18 (KJV) Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, which [is] in Samaria: behold, [he is] in the vineyard of Naboth, whither he is gone down to possess it.
1 Kings 21:19 (KJV) And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Hast thou killed, and also taken possession? And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine.
1 Kings 21:20 (KJV) And Ahab said to Elijah, Hast thou found me, O mine enemy? And he answered, I have found [thee]: because thou hast sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the LORD.
When Elijah confronted Ahab about murdering Naboth, Ahab got angry at Elijah. This is the reaction of most people when they are confronted with their sin.
Peter – An Example Of Repentance
The other way to respond (and very few respond this way) is to be broken, to have remorse for the wicked deed that was done, to have sorrow for the damage that your sins have caused other people. Peter is a good example. He was one of Jesus twelve apostles but he failed and sinned. But when he sinned he was broken over it.
Luke 22:60 (KJV) And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.
Luke 22:61 (KJV) And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
Luke 22:62 (KJV) And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.
How We Should Feel About Sin
Repentance is not a work that we do, it is an attitude that we have towards sin. We will never live a perfect / sinless life.
Ecclesiastes 7:20 (KJV) For [there is] not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
But when we start looking at sin as the horrible thing that it is…
Romans 7:13 (KJV) Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.
and have a desire to live holy as God has commanded us to
1 Peter 1:15 (KJV) But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
1 Peter 1:16 (KJV) Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
that is repentance.
Most people don’t really repent. They love their sin but don’t like the punishment that they deserve and their so-called “repentance” is merely an attempt to escape the judgment that they justly deserve while hanging on to their evil deeds.
John 3:18 (KJV) He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
John 3:19 (KJV) And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
John 3:20 (KJV) For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
If you can’t come to the place where you are in agreement with God about what is right and wrong (sin) and don’t have the desire to turn from your sin and to be holy, then you are in bad trouble. Hell is your final destination, you are condemned already.
5) Receive Jesus As God
The final step of salvation, and most important, is to receive Jesus Christ as your God. Recognizing that Jesus is God and receiving Jesus as God are two different things. Just believing that God exists is not enough to get to heaven, even the devils believe that God exists.
James 2:19 (KJV) Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
You must receive him as God. It is one thing to believe that Jesus is God, it is another thing to make him your God. Two good example are of Cain and the priests during Jesus life.
A) Cain Knew God But Didn’t Receive Him As His God
The first example is Cain. In the beginning of creation God had a relationship with man that we don’t have today. After God created Adam, Adam opened his eyes and there was God. Adam wasn’t an atheist. Adam wasn’t wondering which God was the true God. God spoke with man face to face. God walked with Adam in the Garden of Eden. And we know the story, man sinned and was removed from the Garden of Eden. But God still had close relationship with man in that man saw God and spoke with God.
Even after man was removed from the Garden of Eden man still saw the spiritual realm. God placed cherubims with flaming swords at the entrance of the Garden of Eden so man could not enter and God still revealed himself to man. Cain and Abel both:
- knew God was real
- knew the right God
- had a desire to have fellowship with God
- did works for God
- brought an offering to God
but God accepted Able’s offering and rejected Cains offering.
Genesis 4:3 (KJV) ¶ And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.
Genesis 4:4 (KJV) And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
Genesis 4:5 (KJV) But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.
Genesis 4:6 (KJV) ¶ And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?
Genesis 4:7 (KJV) If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee [shall be] his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.
Genesis 4:8 (KJV) ¶ And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
And we know the story, God accepted Abel’s offering and rejects Cains offering. The reason God accepted Abel’s offering is that Abel’s offering pictured Christ dying on the cross for our sins. Abel copied the sacrifice that God made after Adam and Eve sinned, an innocent being dying to cover the sins of the guilty.
Genesis 3:21 (KJV) ¶ Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
Abel was saying that he wasn’t sufficient to save himself but that he believed that in the future God (an innocent being) would die to cover the sins of man (the guilty).
Cain, however, copied Adam and Eve’s offering, works of the flesh.
Genesis 3:7 (KJV) And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they [were] naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
Adam and Eve tried to cover their sins with their works. Their works weren’t sufficient or acceptable. Cains works weren’t sufficient or acceptable either.
Cain got offended at God because God wouldn’t accept the new religion that he had created out of the imagination of his own mind, killed his brother, and then left God’s presence.
Genesis 4:16 (KJV) ¶ And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
So, here is the point, Cain
- knew God was real
- knew the right God
- had a desire to have fellowship with God
- did works for God
- brought an offering to God
but the problem was that he wasn’t willing to accept God as the Lord of his life. He wanted to have a fellowship with God but without God being his boss. He wanted to bring any offering to God that he wanted and expected God to receive it. The only thing is, man is not the boss, God is. But, if you want to have a relationship with God you must be willing to receive Jesus as Lord (boss). And that is what Cain was not willing to do. And that is the way most people are, just like Cain, they want to have a relationship with God but not have God be their Lord (boss).
B) The Priests Knew Their Messiah Was Born But Didn’t Receive Him As God
Every year around Christmas we see the nativity scene. There are Mary and Joseph, baby Jesus in the manger, the shepherds watching their flocks by night, the angles saying “Glory to God in the highest,” the wise men with with their gold, frankincense, and myrrh… and those are the correct characters in the story. But, there are some people that should have been there that weren’t there. Because we remember the wise men following the star to Jerusalem and going to king Herod to ask him where the king of the Jews was to be born.
Matthew 2:1 (KJV) ¶ Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
Matthew 2:2 (KJV) Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
Matthew 2:3 (KJV) When Herod the king had heard [these things], he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
Matthew 2:4 (KJV) And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
Matthew 2:5 (KJV) And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
Matthew 2:6 (KJV) And thou Bethlehem, [in] the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
Matthew 2:7 (KJV) Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
Matthew 2:8 (KJV) And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found [him], bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
The wise men looking for the King of the Jews was very troubling to Herod. So he went to the chief priests and the scribes and asked them where Christ (the Messiah/God) was to be born and they opened up the Old Testament and found the passage discussing this event and let king Herrod know.
Micah 5:2 (KJV) But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, [though] thou be little among the thousands of Judah, [yet] out of thee shall he come forth unto me [that is] to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth [have been] from of old, from everlasting.
The odd thing is, they didn’t go worship the God of their own Bible.
- They were in the right religion.
- They had the right Bible.
- They had the right moral code (10 Commandments).
- They had the right ordinances.
- They occupied the right religious office.
- They understood what their Bible taught.
So, why didn’t they go and worship the Messiah / God that was spoken of in their own Bible? Because having religion and making Jesus Lord are two different things. Most people have religion but have never made Jesus their Lord, just like the Jewish leaders in Jesus day, and they die and go to hell. Recognizing Jesus is God and receiving Jesus as God are two very different things.
C) In Order To Be Saved, We Must Receive Jesus As God
But, when we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord then He gives us eternal life, He writes our name in the Book of Life, we become His child, we go to heaven for sure!
John 1:12 (KJV) 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 1:13 (KJV) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
What good news this is! We are now no longer relying on our good deeds to save us but relying on the gift that God gave to us, eternal life through Jesus Christ. This “Good News” is called the “Gospel” and the gospel is what the story of the Bible is all about.
And so we see the two main components of salvation, repentance (turning from our sins) and faith in Jesus (receiving Jesus as God).
Acts 20:21 (KJV) Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
Why not repent of your sins and receive Jesus Christ as your God today? All you have to do is pray and ask!
Romans 10:9 (KJV) 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.
This verse tells us two things.
- “believe in thine heart” – we need to recognize that Jesus is God (he died for our sins, was buried, and rose again). Some can do this.
- “confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus” – receive Jesus as our Lord (boss) of our life. Very few will do this. But without doing this you are on your way to hell.
The passage continues on letting us know that anyone can be saved.
Romans 10:10 (KJV) For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Romans 10:11 (KJV) For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Romans 10:12 (KJV) ¶ For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
Romans 10:13 (KJV) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
If you truly believe that Jesus is God, that he died for your sins, was buried and rose again the third day and you want to be delivered from your sin, you want God to change your life, you want to be God’s child and have a home in heaven after you die then pray the following prayer.
Dear heavenly Father:
I know that I’m a sinner; I know that I can’t save myself; I know that you, Jesus Christ, are God. I am sorry for my sins and repent, please forgive me. I believe that you died for my sins, were buried, and rose again the third day. I receive you as my God. Please save me today.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
If you prayed this prayer, and you meant it, then you are now God’s child, you have been born again, heaven is your home for sure. Welcome to the family of God!