The purpose of this study is to help you to be sure that you will go to heaven when you die. Jesus said that, unless you are born again, you cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3). This means that you need to experience spiritual rebirth if you want to go to heaven. Your first birth takes place when your mother gives birth to you (a physical birth). Your second birth takes place when and if you personally invite Jesus into your life as your Lord and Saviour. When you do this, He grants you the right to become a child of God, and you are born into God’s family (John 1:11,12). You become an heir of eternal salvation.
If we have not been born again, we will have no inner assurance of eternal life; and our eternal destiny will not be heaven, but hell. The Bible says that hell is a place of eternal separation from God, where one undergoes unimaginable torment and suffering (2 Thess 1: 8,9). If, however, we have been spiritually reborn, we will have an inner assurance that we are on your way to heaven. The Bible describes heaven as a wonderful place, where “eye has seen, no ear heard, nor has any heart ever imagined the wonderful things that God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
What qualifies us for heaven?
The Bible says that “God loved the world so much that He gave up His Son, Jesus, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but should have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it – through Him” (John 3:16,17). He sent Jesus to die on the cross for us. Therefore, each each one of us will face the same question when we stand before God one day in eternity. The question will be, “What did you do with Jesus and His death on the cross for you?” Therefore, we do not make it to heaven because we are good, nor do we go to hell because we are bad. We only go to heaven because we receive by faith the gift of salvation that Jesus has purchased for us on the cross.
There are certain things that do NOT qualify us for heaven.
Firstly, we do not go to heaven because we are good people.
There are many good people who are not born again. We cannot measure goodness by our human standards for Jesus stated that “there is only one who is good, and that is God” (Matt 19:17). The Bible says that our good deeds are like “filthy rags” in God’s sight (Isaiah 64:6). God’s standard of goodness is infinitely higher than ours. If we break only one of the Ten Commandments, we fall short of His goodness. In Romans 3:23 we read that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.
Secondly, we do not go to heaven because we do the things that Christians do.
Many people read their Bibles, pray and even go to church, but this does not mean that they are born again. Jesus said, “You must be born again!” For example: If you take a fish and throw it into a river, it will swim. That’s what fish do. If you yourself jump into the river, you may be able to duplicate the fish’s actions and swim. However, this does not make you a fish. To be a fish, a fish must be born a fish! Therefore, we are not Christians because we do the things Christians do. We are Christians because we are born again by the Spirit of God.
Thirdly, we do not go to heaven just because we believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
In fact, most people that we meet, claim to believe in Jesus and many will even believe that they are going to heaven. However, only truly born again Christians will go to heaven. Furthermore, the Bible says that “even the devils believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and they tremble” (James 2:19). Jesus also warns us that “not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord” will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21).
The foundation of our faith in Christ is that we must believe that the Bible is the word of God. We read in 2 Timothy 3:16, “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” Therefore, if we do what the Bible says we must do, then God will do, what the Bible says He will do, for we read in in Hebrews 6:18, that “it is impossible for God to lie.” It says in Ephesians 2:8,9 “by grace (undeserved favour) you have been saved through faith. And this salvation is not of your own doing – it is the gift of God! It is not the result of your works or efforts” We are saved by grace through faith. Grace is what God did for us! Faith is what we do. We receive by faith the gift of salvation given to us by grace.
There are three requirements for being born again:
Firstly, you must repent.
The Bible says that “godly sorrow produces repentance, which leads to salvation” (2 Coringhians 7:10). Repentance means: (a) That you acknowledge that you are a sinner who deserves God’s judgment. (b) You ask Him to forgive you for you all your sins. (3) You make a decision to turn away from your sins. The Bible says: “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes his sins will obtain mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).
Secondly, you must surrender your life to Jesus and personally invite Him to be your Lord and Saviour.
It says in John 1:12, “To all those who received Him, He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” To receive Jesus, means to surrender your life to Him and to invite Him to become your Lord and Saviour. Jesus is the Son of God, and He will not come into your heart unless you are prepared to let Him be your Lord. Jesus said: “Unless you deny yourself and take up your cross and follow Me, you cannot be My disciple” (Luke 9:23).
Thirdly, you must confess Him as your Lord and Saviour.
We read in Romans 10:9, “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” You confess Him in prayer to be your Lord and Saviour. However it is also important that your decision to receive Jesus is not something done in secret, you must acknowldge publicly, that He is your Lord and tell others about Him. Your public acknowledgment that Jesus is your Lord will secure your salvation and give you assurance in your heart that you are saved. Jesus said, “Whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32).
What difference should this make in your life?
These are some of the changes that you can expect in your life after you have surrendered your life to Jesus?
Firstly, you should have the inner witness of the Holy Spirit in your heart that you are born again.
The Bible says that “the Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16). You will also become more aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit. We read in 2 Corinthians 1:22, “God has sealed us, and given us the Holy Spirit as a deposit in our hearts.” You should also experience an increased sensitivity to sin, causing you to feel very uncomfortable when you do wrong. Jesus said in John 16:8, “When He (the Holy Spirit) has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”
Secondly, when you invite Jesus into your life, you become a brand new person.
You are born again. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” You should have a new desire to serve and obey God. The Amplified Bible says in 1 John 3:9, “No-one born of God deliberately, knowingly, and habitually practices sin, for God’s nature abides in him, and he cannot practice sinning because he has been born of God.” Furthermore, you should have a desire to meet and have fellowship with other Christians if you are truly born again. It says in 1 John 3:14, “By this we know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren (our fellow Christians).”
Prayer of salvation:
If you have not yet received Jesus as your Lord our Savior, or if you want to rededicate your life to Jesus, you can pray this following prayer:
“Lord Jesus, I acknowledge that I am a sinner and that I deserve to go to hell. I ask You to forgive me for all my sins and cleanse me from all my unrighteousness. I believe that You died for me and carried my sins on the cross. By faith I receive Your forgiveness and Your gift of salvation. I invite you to come and live in my heart and become my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my whole life to You now. I believe that You rose from the dead, and you are the Son of the Living God. I now confess with my mouth that You are my Lord. I now believe that I am born again, you have forgiven me and I now have the gift of eternal life. Amen.