Something has been on my heart and mind a lot lately. I thought I would share it with all of you here on FOGG7. It is a huge issue. A really, really big deal. It is honestly, life or death. It is the answer to this question: how do you get to heaven?
Many people I know, many people I care about and love, THINK they know the answer to this question. They believe that you get into heaven based on the good works that you do here on earth. If you are a good person and do good things, then you will go to heaven. I am here today to tell you, with as much respect as I can and love in my heart, that you are incorrect in your thinking.
There is only one way to get to heaven: to believe in God and to ask him to live in your heart. If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. ~ Romans 10:9-10, ESV
That’s it. It is that simple. Well, if you believe in God, it is that simple. Salvation is simply a process of confessing and believing.
In order to be saved we must first realize our true state of sinfulness before God and know that He alone can save us, cleanse us, and give us eternal life. Scripture tells us that Jesus is the only way and we can not have access to God through any other means. In fact, in John 14:6, Jesus plainly stated..."I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
Now, for some of my beloved family and friends, they are confused about this. For some reason, they have it in their heads that they just need to be good people, do good things, and treat others well, and they will go to heaven. But that is NOT the case. Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches us, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God – not because of works, lest any man should boast.”
Now, I have to admit, it is easy to get confused. Just doing research for the blog has got me second guessing what I have always believed. Honestly, after doing some reading, I can see why this is so troublesome. After reading Tim Staples article called “Are Good Works Necessary for Salvation?” I confess that my view may be adjusting a bit. Maybe the name of this game is two-fold: we must believe AND do the right things.
About five years ago, when I started having an actual, true relationship with God, I came to the conclusion that once you entered this relationship, it was only natural to want to do good things, right things—in short to be more God-like. But, I also know that we are only human, and have a sinful nature. And, that sinful nature is not something that can magically disappear overnight. (Nor will it ever go away. We just become more mindful of it and make better decisions once we are saved.) I know I struggle with it every day. I think most of us do. That is why I got the tattoo on my wrist of my favorite Bible verse, and why I started thinking of myself as a fighter. (Read my blog post on it here.)
That being said, in my heart right now I still find it difficult to comprehend that God would sentence us to eternity in hell UNLESS we didn’t believe in Him. Should we do good works? Yes!! Most definitely we should. Should the amount of good works we do determine what riches we gain once we get to heaven? Maybe. Probably. I also call back to the scripture that tells us God looks at our hearts. 1 Samuel 16:7 tells us, “But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." We will go to hell if we DO NOT believe in God, trust Him, ask him to live in our hearts, or flat out reject Him? Absolutely, without a doubt! So, where does that leave you? Heck, where does it leave me?
Oddly enough, in the midst of writing this blog post, a friend of mine from high school shared an article on “What Happens to Us When We Die?” It is a powerful reminder of why it is so important to be saved. It mentions that the unsaved are cast into the lake of fire where they will reside forever, eternally separated from the presence of Almighty God. And, separated from those that they love. To make it more personal, this is the destiny of your loved ones, your friends, your parents, your brothers and sisters, and children, if they die without Jesus Christ. This is why it is vital to know Jesus. Our eternal lives depend on it.
What do you believe? What is your answer? Why? Can you back it up with Biblical facts? I would honestly love to hear what you think. I strongly urge you to read your Bible, do your own research, talk to people you trust, and most importantly, talk to God. That is what I plan on doing. A great set of online articles to get you on your way is at Focus on the Family. Robert Velarde has some valuable insight. You can start with his post, “Is Christ the Only Way?”
Again, please do share with me your thoughts. This is the most important issue of our lives. For now, I am sticking to the fact that we must have faith and believe in and trust God. If you do decide that the two-fold way is the true way to get to heaven, I think you will agree that the faith part is the most important part. Without it, why would you even care about the good deeds and treating others well? At least, as in concerns your place in eternity?
I am so glad you are here! I am Erica Strickland, a girl who loves God. My goal here is to simply share His love and light.