Many of you know I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior my freshman year in college in 1996 through the ministry efforts of Campus Crusade for Christ. During my entire four years at the University of Northern Colorado I was blessed with a great mentor and friend who was the Director of Campus Crusade at the time. His name was Jim, but we called him Jim Bro because he called all the guys “bro.” I received discipleship training in the Word and evangelism and soon I was sharing Christ all over campus with Jim and the other brothers from Crusade. I want to share one of the questions Jim would ask when we were sharing Christ. It is a shocking question and the answers people gave were very interesting and revealing.
The question is this:
If you were to die today, how sure are you that you would go to Heaven?
Jim would follow up with, “Just give me a percentage bro.”
Nobody we shared Christ with ever said 100% sure. They would say things like 80% or 90%, but never 100%. The next question was simply, “why?”
Answers would vary with different reasons why they felt they should be allowed into Heaven, but mostly the answer was, “because I’m a good person.” They would say they were not a murderer or anything like that or they would say they had gone to church a few times and they believed that was enough to enter Heaven.
Here is the problem folks. “Good works” or being a “good person” will never get you into Heaven. The Lord is very clear on this truth in His Word. If our works could save us, how would you ever know that you had done enough? Praise God for His grace! Jim had asked me the “how sure are you” question when he shared Jesus with me for the first time and I had answered exactly the same way. I said something like 90% sure, then I followed up with, “I’m a good guy. I don’t even step on ants.”
Here is another problem folks. We are not “good.” Sure we can act “good” for a time, but the human race is utterly sinful and we need a Savior. If you don’t believe in sin, just look at our world. Really? Sin is everywhere and we see it, experience it, and suffer it wherever we live on this earth. We are born into this fallen state of sin and we need to be redeemed! We desperately need to get back to the God who created us!
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..”
“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”
I posted the photo of the Grand Canyon to illustrate the deadly problem of sin. Sin, which means missing the mark in the Greek, separates us from God. We fall short because of our sin and sin leads to death. This whole world is dying because of it. God is holy and perfect and we are not. Imagine God is on one side of the canyon and you are on the other. You want to get to the other side to be with God, but you can’t get there on your own. No matter how many good works you do, it will never get you across that great void.
God knows we are imperfect and sinful and we could never reach Heaven by our own efforts, so He came down to us and made a way! Folks, that is the best news the world could ever hear! How did God do this you might be asking?
God did it by stepping off His throne, coming to earth as the man Christ Jesus, and ultimately dying on a cross to forgive the sins of all mankind! Jesus paid the price for every single sin that has ever been or ever will be committed by every single person on this earth and that includes you.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
“God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished–he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”
“David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
“Blessed are they
whose transgressions are
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the man
whose sin the Lord will
never count against
Jesus Christ was not simply a prophet as Muslims say. Jesus Christ was not simply a good man like the world says. Jesus Christ is Lord and on His thigh is written KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS! He died for you, for me, and for all of us because God loves us. He so loved the world that He died for all of us, so He could bridge that great divide and provide a great salvation for the whole world!
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Jesus speaking in John 3:16
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
We would always ask the person we were sharing the Gospel with if they wanted to be 100% sure they were going to Heaven. They would almost always answer yes. The only way a person can be 100% sure they are going to Heaven is through faith in Jesus Christ. There is no other way and Jesus is very clear on this. We all need the grace, mercy, and forgiveness of Jesus and Jesus is the only One who ever died to forgive our sins and reconcile us with God!
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.”
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time…”
1 Corinthians 15:3-6
Through Jesus, you no longer have to live separated from God. He has bridged the gap and made the way into Heaven. There is no boasting in Heaven. You cannot earn your way there. It is a free gift of God and you are only saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ!
Upon believing in Jesus Christ, you will be filled with God’s Holy Spirit, which seals you in Christ and guarantees your inheritance in Heaven! It is by grace you are saved!
“That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.”
Once you belong to Jesus, you will always belong to Jesus and nothing can snatch you away from Him! Trust in Jesus and take Him at His Word! He loves us so much that He died for us and that love is for you too!
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
Jesus speaking in John 10:27-30
Nobody in all creation in Heaven or on earth is greater than the Father and Jesus! Nobody! Jesus Christ is the only One who has ever made such a promise. Yes, we are all sinful, but we can choose to receive the grace of God and be forgiven and freely justified through faith in Jesus!
“But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
I have been 100% sure I am going to Heaven since I was 18 years old in October of 1996. That assurance has been strong and unwavering for the last 22 years for one reason and one reason only–Jesus!!! My salvation and righteousness are through faith in Jesus Christ alone and there is nothing I could ever do to save myself.
So, I leave you with this question. If you were to die today, how sure are you that you would go to Heaven? You can be 100% sure right now and I have pointed you to our only salvation on this earth. Death is coming for all of us and that is certain, but that does not have to be the end! You can live eternally in Heaven and have that peace and assurance today! It is up to you to choose whether you are separated from God or reconciled with God. He has made The Way and that Way is Jesus. I pray you choose life!
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
Grace and peace to you all in the saving grace of Jesus Christ!