Can I Know I'm Going to Heaven?
Although we are passionate about media and culture, we are even more passionate about helping people have a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Knowing Jesus and trusting in Him for salvation is the first step in having media discernment. The Bible tells us, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding" (Proverbs 9:10). Consider the following verses of Scripture. They reveal some sobering characteristics concerning my heart and yours before we accept Jesus as our Savior.
“AND YOU HE MADE ALIVE, WHO WERE DEAD IN TRESPASSES AND SINS, IN WHICH YOU ONCE WALKED ACCORDING TO THE COURSE OF THIS WORLD, ACCORDING TO THE PRINCE OF THE POWER OF THE AIR, THE SPIRIT WHO NOW WORKS IN THE SONS OF DISOBEDIENCE, AMONG WHOM ALSO WE ALL ONCE CONDUCTED OURSELVES IN THE LUSTS OF OUR FLESH, FULFILLING THE DESIRES OF THE FLESH AND OF THE MIND, AND WERE BY NATURE CHILDREN OF WRATH, JUST AS THE OTHERS.”
“THE HEART IS DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS, AND DESPERATELY WICKED; WHO CAN KNOW IT?”
“FOR ALL HAVE SINNED AND FALL SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD."
Please consider some of the descriptions of our human nature. The bible describes us as dead in trespasses and sins, sons of disobedience, children of wrath, deceitful, desperately wicked. I bet your self-esteem is not soaring at this point. Neither is mine! The Gospel of Jesus Christ is referred to as the ‘Good News’. However, before you can enjoy the ‘Good News’ you have to embrace the ‘Bad News’. The bad news is that all of us have sinned and fall short of God’s holy standard. One day each and every one of us will stand before God in judgment and He will require 100% righteousness and holiness from us (Acts 17:31). The bad news is that none of us can meet that standard. The only person to ever meet that standard was the Lord Jesus Christ. Because God is holy, there must be a just payment for sin. No amount of good works, church attendance, sacraments or media discernment will ever be able to pay for our sin. On our own, we all stand lost and hopeless without God (Ephesians 2:12).
For the first 18 years of my life I would have considered myself a religious and good person. I never had any problem admitting that I was a sinner. I just never believed that I was sinful enough to go to Hell. Hell was for murderers and rapists. I wasn’t one of those. I considered myself ‘good’ because my standard for pleasing God was ‘the murderers and rapists’. I was certainly better than them. In fact I could think of multitudes of people that weren’t as ‘good’ as me. I came to see that this flawed theology was not true. I believed that the standard of righteousness was ‘others’. I’m convinced that a great number of people today also believe this flawed theology. I was very surprised when I found out (through reading the Bible) that God Himself was the standard of righteousness. I found out that I had to be as holy as God to enter into heaven. When the reality of this truth hit me I was humbled by the reality of my sinfulness. I came to realize that I was a GREAT sinner and that nothing I could do was going to wash me clean of my unrighteousness. I had embraced the BAD NEWS! I was now ready to also embrace the GOOD NEWS!
“FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, THAT WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM SHOULD NOT PERISH BUT HAVE EVERLASTING LIFE.”
God is a holy God but He is also a God of love! He does not want anyone to go to hell to pay for their sins. In His great love He made a way for us. Jesus Christ the son of God paid for our sins on the cross so that we could be free from the penalty of sin.
“FOR THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH, BUT THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD.”
Imagine if you would, being convicted of an awful crime. You get arrested, you go to court and the jury finds you GUILTY! You then stand before a judge for your just sentencing. The judge sentences you to death by lethal injection. You are carted off to a room to receive your just punishment. As you lay on the table contemplating your circumstances, you know that you are guilty and deserve what is happening to you. There is no hope! Just before the executioner puts the needle in your arm to end your life, the door swings open and someone yells WAIT! To everyone’s surprise it is the judge who sentenced you. He says, “I love this man and I am going to take his punishment.” They unstrap you and strap the judge to the table. He receives the injection and dies while you walk out of the building a free man. You receive a pardon that you did not deserve and the judge receives a death that he did not deserve.
“FOR CHRIST ALSO SUFFERED ONCE FOR SINS, THE JUST FOR THE UNJUST, THAT HE MIGHT BRING US TO GOD.”
1 PETER 3:18
This is a human illustration of God’s amazing grace and love. Over 2000 years ago the creator and Lord of the universe became a man and died on a cross to pay for our sins. He took all of our punishment on the cross so that we would not have to pay for our sins in Hell. Some theologians call this the ‘Great Exchange’. Jesus takes all of our sins and we get all of His righteousness. This is the GOOD NEWS of the Gospel! What must you and I do to receive God’s indescribable gift? (2 Corinthians 9:15).
You must first confess to God that you are a sinner and that no amount of your self-effort will ever be able to pay for your sins.
“FOR BY GRACE YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED THROUGH FAITH, AND THAT NOT OF YOURSELVES; IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD, NOT OF WORKS, LEST ANYONE SHOULD BOAST.”
Once you’ve acknowledged your helplessness and hopelessness before God you must then believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. You must believe that He took the punishment for your sins through His death and that He rose from the dead to bring you eternal life.
“IF YOU CONFESS WITH YOUR MOUTH THE LORD JESUS AND BELIEVE IN YOUR HEART THAT GOD HAS RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD, YOU WILL BE SAVED.”
It’s that’s simple! Jesus asks you to trust in Him through ‘faith’. In fact, Jesus exhorts us to come to Him with the simple faith of a child” (Mark 10:13-16). You may have been a religious person your whole life but you have never trusted in Jesus for your salvation. You may have believed that you must obey a list of rules and regulations to pay for you sins. The Good News and the simple message of Christianity is that Jesus already paid the price. All you must do is repent of your sin and put your trust in Him.
If God’s spirit has humbled you at this moment and you have come to see the greatness of your sin and the greatness of Jesus to save you, I would encourage you to pray this prayer:
“Dear God, I confess to you that I am a great sinner. I have fallen short of your standards of righteousness and holiness. I stand guilty before you. I confess my belief that your son Jesus Christ took upon Himself my sins when He died on the cross. I believe that He rose from the dead so that my sins could be forgiven and I could have eternal life. I put all of my trust in His work on the cross for my salvation. I turn from my sin to follow You. Thank you Lord for this free gift of salvation. Amen.”
If you have sincerely prayed this prayer the Bible proclaims that you are now a child of God (John 1:12).
Your sins have been forgiven and Christ’s righteousness has been put on your eternal account. The bible states that you have been JUSTIFIED before God (Romans 5:1). This means that even though you have sinned greatly, God DECLARES you righteous because of what Jesus has done on the cross. God’s payment for your sins has been satisfied (1 John 2:1). You are forgiven! But, you must also know that you are more than forgiven; you are NEW PERSON. The Bible joyfully proclaims that if anyone is ‘in Christ’, he is a new creation; old thing have passed away; behold, all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Things to Do If You Are a New Christian
Begin reading the Bible
"Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation"
1 Peter 2:2
Begin talking to God through prayer. Get to know your heavenly Father.
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Attend a bible-believing church which exalts Jesus as the only way of salvation.
"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and ball the more as you see the Day drawing near."
Obey Jesus’ command and be baptized.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit"