Regarding Heaven, some may think it is only a hope,
or doubt its existence. They may say, “Nobody has gone to Heaven and come back,
so why should we believe in it?”
It is important to note that the Bible teaches
about Heaven in many places. Jesus said straight out: “For I came down from Heaven, not to do my own will but
the will of him that sent me” (John ),
so He certainly has knowledge about the issue. Likewise, He said: “Let not
your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s
house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to
prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come
again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also”
Paul wrote about the same subject. He wrote,
“But as it is written, Eye has not
seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things
which God has prepared for them that love him” (1 Cor 2:9) and “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present
time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in
us” (Rom 8:18).
he taught and wrote about a new, glorified and perfect resurrection body: “For
this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on
immortality” (1 Cor 15:33) and in Philippians (3:20,21): “For our
conversation is in Heaven; from where also we look for the Savior, the Lord
Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like to
his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue
all things to himself.”
Perhaps the best description
about the coming world, heavenly Jerusalem
and its dwelling places with all its glories and joys can be found in Chapters 21
and 22 of the Book of Revelation. In them Heaven is described as a pure and
perfect place which is free from the curse of sin; in it there is a pure river of water of life(22:1: And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear
as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb), the throne of God and of the Lamb; there is no
illness, death or night in it (21:25 And the gates of it shall not be shut
at all by day: for there shall be no night there.) because these have
passed away. According to the description, it is a place as real as the Earth, though
it is eternal. God is present in this kingdom:
- (Rev 21:1-6) And I saw a new
heaven and a new earth: for the first
heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw
the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a
bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a
great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men,
and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God
himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4 And God shall
wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death,
neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the
former things are passed away.
5 And he that
sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.And he said to me, Write: for these words
are true and faithful.
6 And he said to me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning
and the end. I will give to him that is thirsty of the fountain of the
water of life freely.
WHO WILL GET TO HEAVEN? Above we discussedHeaven and
the approach of the kingdom of
If the Word of God is true, then a marvellous future awaits those of us who get
there. Compared to winning heaven, earning a sports victory, winning lottery prizes, or experiencing all
other gains on Earth are small gains indeed. All things – the good ones too –
are temporary, whereas the heavenly kingdom is eternal.
But what about getting to Heaven? Does the
Bible -- especially the New Testament -- teach us anything about heaven, about
who can get there, or about how to get there? This is not always clear to people;
they may have wrong ideas about it that prevent them from receiving life.
Next, we examine two of the most common misconceptions about
going to Heaven:
- Everyone goes to heaven
- Only good people go to heaven
“EVERYONE will GO to heaven”
Some people have the idea everyone on Earth will go to Heaven. They
think that when a man’s life ends, he will automatically go to Heaven, regardless of how he has
lived. God does not close the gates; everyone gets in.
Let’s consider the faulty logic in this approach.
What is true? When a Finnish priest wrote a book Kaikki pääsevät
taivaaseen (“Everyone will go to heaven”) some years ago, the name of the
book created the idea that one day, every single person on Earth will go to
Heaven. The idea suggested that nobody will be left outside.
The first question is whether
or not this idea comes from human imagination or whether it is true according
to God’s purpose. If we suppose that the Gospels and the texts in the New
Testament – describing Heaven and teaching us how to get there – are all true, then
the notion that everyone goes to Heaven is not supported. On the contrary, the
New Testament teaches that a certain group – unrepentant sinners – will be left
outside the gates of Heaven. In Corinthians (1 Cor 6:9), for example, we read, “Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit
the kingdom of God?
Be not deceived…” The next verses continue the message that some people
will be left outside Heaven:
- (,15) Blessed are they that do his commandments that they
may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the
15 For without are dogs, and
sorcerers, and fornicators, and murderers, and idolaters, and whoever loves and
makes a lie.
So the previous verses indicate that everyone
will not get in to Heaven. Unrepentant sinners will be left outside.
It is good to understand that a God who forgives
unrepentant sinners is not a good God. He would be as bad as the evil he accepts
if he only looks away when people do bad things. He would also be morally even
lower than us humans, because evil causes an opposite reaction in us and can
arouse our sense of justice and anger. If God were indifferent and accepted
everything, He could not be a righteous God. He would give His consent to evil.
We cannot expect Him to open the doors of Heaven to unrepentant people:
I’m not of the same opinion
with those who explain that heaven is open for everyone. As I thank God for Him
not making us judges of our fellowmen, I see that the Bible clearly teaches
that there are people who will be left outside the HolyCity when their life here on Earth
has come to an end. One of my friends told me long time ago about a young woman
who imagined that God would never close the gates of Heaven from anyone.
That young woman
amused her brother’s little daughter one day by telling her a story of
“Children in the Woods”. When she finished the story, the child asked with
anxiety, “Did all the children go to heaven?” “Yes, they did, my darling,"
the aunt answered. “But what happened to the bad men?” the child asked. “Oh, I
think that God took them to heaven too.” “But won’t they kill children there
again?” inquired the little one with anxiety. The practical nature of the
question was too much for the aunt’s philosophy, and she saw now – as never
before – the impossibility of the righteous God acting that way. (1)
The next question is how to get into heaven and what do we need to do.
Is there any clear guidance?
answer is that if unrepentant sinners are not forgiven and do not enter into
Heaven, then people who genuinely repent and turn to God receive total
forgiveness and get to enter Heaven. The matter is so simple.
Let’s read the story of the Prodigal Son, as told by Jesus.
It is one illustration of a person who was forgiven after having turned his
back on his father. Jesus taught that when the son repented, turned toward his
father and confessed his wrongdoings, his father was filled with compassion and
welcomed him home. The door to Heaven was opened to him such as it was opened
for the thief on the cross. Jesus told him: “Today shall you be with me in paradise” (Luke ).
This applies to us today. If we turn to God, then we will
experience the same acceptance. “For there is no
respect of persons with God” (Rom ).
Everyone can experience the same acceptance as the Prodigal Son. One day we
will be welcomed into the kingdom of
in spite of our past. The only condition placed upon us is that we must first
turn to God and confess that we have been wrong. We will immediately be
forgiven. The problem of many unrepentant people is that they never take this
step. They do not turn to God and ask for a new life, so they cannot be
forgiven for their sins. Do not act in this way, but turn to God by confessing
that you have lived apart from Him. Then the doors of Heaven will open to you.
- (Luke 15:17-20) And when he came
to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough
and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
18 I will
arise and go to my father, and will say to him, Father, I have sinned against
heaven, and before you,
19 And am no more
worthy to be called your son: make me as one of your hired servants.
20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great
way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and
fell on his neck, and kissed him.
- (1 John 1:9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to
forgive us our sins, and to cleanse
us from all unrighteousness.
“ONLY GOOD PEOPLE WILL GO TO
The second idea is that only “good” people and people with high moral
standards will go to Heaven. Many people think that if someone does his best,
lives a moral life and is not as bad as others, he will go to Heaven. They
suppose that God will receive them first and welcome them.
This idea is also wrong. Even though good deeds and moral
attitudes are good things, they cannot lead us to God and into Heaven. This is
because nobody is perfect:
Perfection and God’s character. Even though good deeds and
morality are good things, they – or being better than someone else – cannot
assist us in getting to Heaven or in approaching God. It is the same as if we
were about to jump across a bottomless abyss several hundred meters wide. Some
of us can jump three meters, others six meters and some as much as nine meters
when in peak condition. However, every jump will fall short. Even if people
could jump two or three times that distance, it would still be inadequate. Perfection
is too far away. Each of us must admit that we live far from the perfection of
God, as we are told that, "Yet not one of you keeps the law” (John 7:19).
It is impossible for us to get to Heaven by leading a moral life or by doing
HOW CAN WE GET TO HEAVEN?
Since not all of us can get in to heaven, not
even those who try to lead a good and moral life, we ought to ask who can go
there and how. Does the Bible provide answers to these questions?
answer is that we can be saved in one way only: by grace, which comes through
Jesus, who has done everything for us. For good deeds and high moral standards
cannot take us to Heaven because of our imperfect nature, but His grace will
take us there. Whether we are a blatantly sacrilegious sinner, an atheist, a moralist
– no matter our human condition – we can only be saved and enter into Heaven by
the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. The Bible teaches us that this
is the only way to be saved.
- (Eph 2:8,9) For by grace are
you saved through faith; and that not
of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of
works, lest any man should boast.
- (Eph 2:4,5) But God, who is rich in
mercy, for his great love with which he loved us,
5 Even when we
were dead in sins, has quickened us together with Christ, (by grace you
- (Rom 6:23) For the wages of sin is
death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
- (Rom 3:24) Being justified freely
by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
- (John 4:10) Jesus answered and said
to her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that said to
you, Give me to drink; you would have asked of him, and he would have
given you living water.
- (Rev 21:6) And he said to me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega,
the beginning and the end. I will give to him that is thirsty of the
fountain of the water of life freely.
- (Rev 22:17) And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him
that hears say, Come. And let him that is thirsty come. And whoever will,
let him take the water of life freely.
Through grace and Jesus. Faith in Jesus is the only path to
Heaven. It is because of that simple reason that he has become our mediator
between God and men, or crossed the gap between them. Everything is now based
on grace, which has come through Him:
- 1 (John 14:6) Jesus said to him, I am
the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.
- (Hebr 9:15) And for this cause he
is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the
redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which
are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
- (John 1:17) For the law was given by
Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
- (Rom 6:23) For the wages of sin is
death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
- (Rom 3:24) Being justified freely by his grace through
the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
- (Acts 10:43) To him give all the
prophets witness, that through his name whoever believes in him shall
receive remission of sins.
- (Acts 13:38) Be it known to
you therefore, men and brothers, that through this man is preached to you
the forgiveness of sins:
Everything has been done for us, and only through grace and faith in
Jesus Christ can we enter into Heaven. We must turn to God and receive His grace.
We must accept Jesus Christ into our lives so that we can be saved and go to
heaven. Only by receiving Him can we enter Heaven one day.
What if we reject the grace of
God and Jesus? What if we take no notice of Him and the coming life? Will there
be any consequences of it? Does it have an effect on our eternity?
answer is that if we reject Jesus and His gift of eternal life, we must
certainly pay for our own sins. We will enter into eternal damnation and reside
in a place from which there is no escape. All of this is because we have simply
turned our back on the only possibility to be saved and to get to God’s
paradise. We have rejected our only possibility to get into Heaven. Therefore,
do not turn your back on God’s grace but save yourself today so that you won’t
have regrets later. It is the best decision you can ever make:
In 1892, Wilson and Porter
were sentenced to be hanged for a mail robbery. Porter was executed, but Wilson
was pardoned. He rejected his pardoning, and judge John Marshall of the Higher
Court left the future generations this statement: “Pardoning is an act that is
not legal without releasing the person, and release is not perfect without
receiving. The person to whom it is offered can reject it, and if it is
rejected, we do not deem the Court fit to put it into effect by force.”
As you see, you bear the responsibility. If you do not accept
God’s mercy, He will not force you. “How shall we escape if we ignore such a
great salvation?” (Hebr 2:3) (2)
My friend, if you are damned, it is not because
of your sins, but because you have not received mercy that God offers to you
through Jesus. That is why it is fair. If you reject Jesus, what can God do?
You then dismiss your only hope of salvation. (3)
THE PRAYER OF SALVATION:
Lord, Jesus, I turn to You. I confess that I have sinned against You and
have not lived according to Your will. However, I want to turn from my sins and
follow You with all my heart. I also believe that my sins have been forgiven by
Your atonement and I have received eternal life through You. I thank You for
the salvation that You have given me. Amen.