“And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matt. 25:46
A common saying is that, the only certainties in life are death and taxes. But the Bible adds another; judgement. “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” (Heb. 9:27.) “He (God) will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (2 Thess. 1:8-9.) If we believe that when we die, God will balance our good works against evil, and receive us in to heaven, it is a false premise. Others believe that we can earn our entry to heaven by doing good works like obeying the ten commandments, giving to charity, and doing the best we can. “The commandments are holy, just and good.” (Rom. 7:12.) But, because of our innate sin nature, no one can keep them perfectly. And yet they require complete obedience. To break one commandment is to break all. The purpose of the commandments is to show us that we are all sinners. “Therefore, by the deeds of the law (commandments) no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:20.) The consistent affirmation of the Bible is that we are all sinners. “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10.) “For all have sinned and fell short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23.) Sin must be punished and the penalty for sin is eternal condemnation. Before anyone can be fit for heaven, his sins must be dealt with.
The question then is, how can we be sure of going to heaven when we die. God sent His holy, sinless son, Jesus to earth to die as a substitute for sinners. On the cross of Calvary, the savior shed His blood to pay the penalty for our sins. “For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens.” (Heb. 7:26.) He died so that we could spent eternity with Him in heaven. When we put our trust in Christ and receive Him as our savior and Lord, God saves us from the penalty of our sins. “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.” (John. 3:16.) “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36.)
Although we do not deserve God’s favor, the Bible tells us that it is God’s love, mercy and grace that make us recipients of His gift of salvation. “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-6.
God is just and His justice requires punishment of sin. The good news is that the judgement for our sin has been transferred to Christ. He lovingly chose to take our punishment so that God could forgive us completely and still maintain His justice. Eternal life and heaven are free gifts that God gives to all who place their trust and hope in the Lord Jesus Christ who finished the work of their salvation on the Cross. Today, will you place your trust in Him? Your future depends on it!
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