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Heaven Bound?

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"And I know that eternal life comes from what the Father commands." John 12:50a (NCV).

How do you know that you are going to heaven or not?

I once heard about a pastor who, in his Sunday sermon, said something to the effect, “Wouldn't it be nice if God would tell us exactly what we need to do to make it to heaven? But He doesn't so we just have to do the best we can.”

What an amazingly sad sentiment for a pastor to express! It isn’t accurate.

The Bible offers very clear insight, instruction, and guidance on how to be ensured of our spiritual destiny. Early in the New Testament, Christ states in Matthew 4:17, “Turn from sin and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ provides more insight into what it takes to get to heaven. But in the simplest sense, those who intentionally turn away from sin and actively turn to God are headed in a heavenly direction.

That most famous of verses, John 3:16-18 is even more straightforward: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God" (ESV).

Paul declares in Romans 10:9-11, "[B]ecause, 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. For the Scripture says, 'Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.'”

These are only a few of the dozens of scripture verses to which we can turn to be assured, without any doubt, that we are saved and on a heavenly trajectory.

Certainly, there may be some ambiguities about exactly how to live out the Christian faith in our lifetimes, and even some disagreements on the finer points. But overall, anyone who (1) sincerely confesses Jesus to be Lord, (2) acknowledges and turns away from their sin, (3) welcomes Christ and His gift of grace into their life, and (4) intentionally seeks to live a Holy Spirit empowered life of purity and holiness in Christ, can rest assured that heaven is in their future.

If you have any doubts, just start reading through the New Testament and you will encounter passage after passage that will reassure your heart and your soul. Here are a few verses for you to look at now: Acts 3:19; Romans 3:21-26; 1 John 1:9; Hebrews 3:1.

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