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How to get to heaven

Or: What must I do to be saved?

There is no more important issue than our eternal destiny. Thankfully, the Bible is abundantly clear on how a person can be saved. The Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" Paul and Silas responded, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved" (Acts 16:30-31).

Why do we need to be saved?

The Bible declares that every human being who has ever lived is born a sinner, ie. with the capacity to sin and everyone does so (Romans 3:23). To sin is to do something wrong - either in thought, word, or deed - which contradicts God's perfect and holy character. Do small sins matter? Yes! Whether large or small, every sin is a transgression of God's perfect Law. Sin is what makes us unsaved and separates us from God's presence eternally.
Because of our sin, we all deserve judgment from God (John 3:18, 36). God is perfectly just, so He cannot allow sin and evil to go unpunished. Since God is infinite and eternal, and since all sin is ultimately against God, only an infinite and eternal punishment is sufficient. Eternal death (or separation) is the only just punishment for sin. That is why we need to be saved.

Jesus saves, but whom does He save?

Because the just penalty for sin is infinite and eternal, human beings (being finite) could never pay off this debt, only an infinite person could. So God became a human being in the person of Jesus Christ. He took on human flesh, lived among us and taught us. When the people rejected Him and His message, and sought to kill Him, He willingly sacrificed Himself for us, allowing Himself to be crucified (John 10:15). Because Jesus Christ was human, He could die; and because Jesus Christ is also God, His death had an eternal and infinite value. Jesus' death on the cross was the perfect and complete payment for our sin, also called atonement (1 John 2:2). He took the consequences we deserved. Jesus' resurrection from the dead demonstrated that His death was indeed the perfectly sufficient payment for sin. He literally ransomed us.

While Jesus' sacrifice was perfectly sufficient to pay for the sins of all humanity, Jesus only saves those who personally receive Him as Lord and Saviour (John 1:12). God honours our free will choice of whether to accept or reject his gift. You cannot earn your way into heaven by your own efforts, no matter how many good deeds you perform. It is impossible to get in that way, but the free gift anyone can claim.

What do I need to do?

If you understand that Jesus saves, and you want to trust in Him as your personal Saviour, you can say the following prayer:

Dear heavenly Father, I know that I am a sinner, and I know that because of my sin I deserve to be eternally separated from you. Even though I do not deserve it, thank you for loving me and providing the sacrifice for my sins through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I am sorry for having failed you on many occasions. Please forgive me. I believe that Jesus died for my sins and I trust in Him alone to save me. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me! Help me to live the rest of my life in gratitude for the wonderful salvation you have provided. Amen".

Welcome into God's family! Jesus is your guaranteed ticket to heaven. Learn more about God by reading his guide book, the Bible, beginning with the New Testament.

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