DL Moody said, “Soon you will read that I am dead, but don’t believe it for a moment. I will be more alive than ever before.” And he spoke on his death bed, “Earth recedes and heaven open before me.”
How was it that Moody knew he was going to heaven? And can you also have that same assurance? God says, “Nothing impure will ever enter (heaven) but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”‘(Revelation 21:27) Heaven is described as a wedding banquet that God invited everyone to come. But some said they were too busy to reply. They had marriages, and children and business to attend to. Heaven is a free gift but it demands a response. Have you returned the RSVP to God’s heaven invitation?
It’s a choice we make ourselves. Like the sale I neglected to attend and missed out on the special offering, if we put off making a choice about heaven, that is a choice in itself that bears eternal consequence. Consider the tombstone, somewhere in Indiana, that reads:
“Pause here stranger when you pass by,
As you are now so once was I,
As I am now so you will be,
So prepare for death and follow me.”
Someone suggested etching in a response:
“To follow you, I’m not content,
Until I know which way you went!” 🙂
John says we can know if we go to heaven: I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so you may know that you have eternal life.” 1 John 5:13 We can know we are going to heaven – not if we know Jesus lived, not if we believed he was a good teacher, not if we did enough good – but if we believe in the powerful and authoritative death defying name of Jesus Christ.
We are all sinners and all fall short of the glory of God. We have no grounds by which to defend ourselves but God provided Jesus to mediate for our sins and to present us as pure and blameless before God. Do you see yourself as Jesus does, made worthy only through his sacrifice and undeserved grace? He marks our debt, “Paid in full.” You’re right to think you don’t deserve his forgiving grace. I don’t either. “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. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
If God wasn’t willing to forgive sin on the basis of Christ’s sacrifice, heaven would be an empty place.” (Randy Alcorn, Heaven)
You can’t earn it by doing more good or less bad. Not by fame or generous giving, or great knowledge or philosophy. Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” He adds, “Not every who says ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (I wonder how many self professed “Christians” will be surprised to find themselves “left behind” the Sunday after the rapture. ) So we find ourselves either as followers of Jesus, believing and living as he commanded and on the way to heaven, or as followers of ourselves, on the way to Hell. I’m just saying what the bible says. hAve you read it? It’s a choice we make, consciously or by default. As the knight in the Indiana Jones movie, The Last Crusade said, “Choose wisely.”
Here’s the interesting thing. We CAN know we’re going to heaven if we know our heart. We aren’t to and can’t judge others because we can’t know their heart at their final moment before God. All we can do is present a biblically accurate view of heaven and hell for them to consider; ask them which eternal life they really want, and then ask what needs to change in order to make that a reality. The rest is up to them and God.
If I were planning a move out west, it would be a silly strategy to begin my journey with hundreds of miles going east. And so it is with heaven. If you believe you are going to heaven, have you adopted a heaven-based strategy for living? Not just a “salvation prayer” but an intentional strategy based on building up “treasures in heaven” not “treasures on earth.” One that is focused on feeding the hungry, and visiting the sick like Jesus commanded us. If you are sure that you’re going to go to heaven when you die, live in a way that shows it while you’re here on earth!