If you were to ask most people if they knew they were going to heaven most would answer yes. But, there are also those who believe that a person cannot know for certain whether or not they will get into heaven. There are some Christians who believe this – that we will not know whether or not we can get to heaven until Judgment Day. You just have to hope that you are good enough to be allowed to enter into God’s kingdom.
However, Christianity does teach that a person can know for certain that they will go to heaven. 1 John 5:13 says, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” Notice what it says – “so that you may know that you have eternal life” (emphasis added). This is an incredible statement. The Bible teaches us that we can know for sure that a Christian goes to heaven because of God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8). Unlike what most people believe, Christians do not need to worry about doing enough good deeds to get to heaven. Heaven is a gift from God.
How is this so? To begin with, all human beings are sinners (Romans 3:9-20). To be a sinner means that you have fallen short of God’s holy standard. Sin came into God’s perfect creation through Adam (Romans 5:12-19) and sin is the reason why death is in the world (Romans 6:23). Sin makes us think that right is wrong and wrong is right. Sin twists the world into something that it was not supposed to be (Proverbs 14:12).
However, the good news is that God has provided us a way out of sin – Jesus Christ. God loved the world so much that he sent his Son to save us from sin and death (John 3:16). As a man, Jesus identifies with humanity and our weaknesses, but he was not tainted by sin (Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:15-16). 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made him [Christ] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Randy Alcorn notes that “[t]his means that even though we are under God’s wrath for our sins, Jesus died on the cross as our representative, our substitute.” Christ took God’s wrath for us and declared us righteous and innocent of all our sins. This means that we can once again enter God’s presence like mankind could in the Garden of Eden.
Jesus died and rose from the dead, thus defeating death and conquering sin (1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 54-57). John 19:30 notes that Jesus said, “It is finished” when he died on the cross. “The Greek word translated ‘it is finished’ was commonly written across certificates of debt when they were canceled. It meant ‘paid in full.’ Christ died so that the certificate of debt, consisting of all our sins, could once and for all be marked ‘paid in full.’”
However, forgiveness is not automatic and not everyone will go to heaven just because of what Christ did. Proverbs 28:13 says, “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” 1 John 1:9 also says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
In order to attain salvation one must repent of their sins, and believe that Jesus is Lord and that he physically rose from the dead for our sins (Romans 10:9). It is only by God’s grace that he even allowed Jesus to do this. No good deed gets you into heaven. Even if you were somehow able to do more good deeds than bad deeds during your life, you still would not get to heaven. Only through Christ can you get there: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). (Please note that this does not mean that Christians should not lead a good life. Christians are to do good as they are to love God with all their heart and to love their neighbor as themselves. Christians are called to live a righteous life even though it does not save them.)
What do you think? Before reading this article, did you worry about getting to heaven? Be assured, if you believe in Christ with all your heart you will be saved and will be granted access to the new heavens and new earth.