How can we get into heaven?

Nothing is as important as this question. Thankfully the Bible gives us a clear answer.

Jesus tells us in Mark 1.15 (NIV): “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news”. Jesus is telling us here how to get a place in the kingdom of God, and live forever with Jesus. We need to repent and believe the good news of Jesus. 

The word repent literally means ‘change your mind’. To repent is to make a decision in your heart to say goodbye to your sin. The Bible tells us sin is breaking God’s commands (Leviticus 5.17). To repent is to decide I am going to turn away from my sin and go Jesus’ way. 

To believe the good news is to believe the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection. The bad news is we all deserve to go to Hell for our sin. The good news is if you trust Jesus’ death for the forgiveness of your sins you will be forgiven by God. 

John 3.16 is probably the most famous verse in the Bible. It says this (NKJV): 16 ‘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’.

No-one deserved Jesus the Son of God to die for them. But God loves sinners who don’t deserve to be loved or saved. This is why God sent Jesus to the agony of death on the cross. 

  You need to believe that God loves you so much he sent Jesus to die for you. You need to trust that when Jesus died on the cross God the Father poured out his fair anger against your sins on Jesus instead of you. You need to believe that when you die God won’t punish you for your sins because Jesus took the punishment as a substitute for you. 

It is also great news that Jesus has risen from the dead. 1 Corinthians 15.21-22 tells us (NIV): 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

These verses in 1 Corinthians 15 are telling us that all with faith in Jesus Christ share in his resurrection. This is because Christ’s people are ‘in Christ’, united to Christ by the Holy Spirit (e.g. 1 Corinthians 12.13). Through this union with Christ, all in Christ will get the same happy resurrection as Christ when he returns. 

Many people wrongly believe that the Bible teaches you get into heaven by doing good. The Bible teaches the opposite of this. It tells us no-one can earn God’s favour through good deeds. As Ephesians 2.8-9 tells us (NIV): For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

It is all important not to trust in what you do to save you. We cannot save ourselves. Only Jesus can save us. 

It’s all important to be saved. John 3.36 tells us (NIV): 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

Those who do not repent and trust Jesus to save them end up in the eternal misery of Hell. Those who do repent and trust Jesus to save them end up in the joy of Jesus’ sweet company forever.

The English preacher Thomas Watson wrote this in 1668: “The two great graces essential to a saint in this life are faith and repentance. These are the two wings by which he flies to heaven”.

To fly to heaven when you die you need these two wings of repentance and faith. You need to turn in your heart to Jesus as your Lord, and trust in him as your personal Saviour. 

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