There is no greater question of human life than what happens after death. There is no greater hope for those who believe, than to enter heaven upon their death. The question is: “who can go to heaven?”
The answer is: Everyone! Sinners; liars, murderers, thieves, adulterers, and fornicators. Those who have ruined their lives. People who have denied God, fought against Him, hated Him and denied that He exists. There is no one who cannot enter heaven, if they truly want to.
In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus prayed to the Father and said: “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike. Yes, Father, it pleased you to do it this way!” ~Matthew 11:25-26 (NLT)
Jesus’ death and resurrection has made it possible for any person—regardless of who they are or what they have done—to enter heaven upon their death. The price has already been paid. Anyone who will receive this gift can have it.
All that is required is a change of attitude. Instead of pride and a refusal to come; humility and a sincerity, and a desire to be forgiven. Before anyone can receive the forgiveness of their sin, they must first see their need and understand that they are not right with God. This is not really that difficult because we all know that our lives are not as they should be. We all have a conscience that tells us that our behavior is not always right and we understand that the guilt we feel is an indication that we need help.
Jesus Forgives All Sins
You might think that it is too late for you, but you are wrong. Even Paul, who pursued people to their death simply because they loved Jesus, found forgiveness for his sins. Paul later said that Jesus chose him to be the recipient of forgiveness so that anyone could understand that God can forgive even the worst sinner (1 Timothy 1:15-16).
This new life starts with humility. Jesus said that we should all become like children—humble, teachable, willing to receive. Jesus said that those who think themselves wise and do not need God or His forgiveness are only fooling themselves. If we were not all sinners, lost and without hope to save ourselves, Jesus would never have left heaven to come and die for us.
If we could be saved by a religion, or by doing good works, Jesus would not have said that He us the only way to heaven (John 14:6). If there was any other way that we could be saved apart from Jesus’ death and resurrection, Jesus would not have died for us.
The fact that Jesus came to earth and died for our sins, tells us that His way was the only way. The reason: Only Jesus lived a sinless life and had the power of an endless life. As the Eternal God who took the body of a man (Hebrews 1), Jesus has power over death that no other god or religion possesses. All other human beings born on the earth are, themselves, sinners. A sinner cannot save another sinner. Only a man who has lived his life without sin could act as a substitute and take our place at the judgement we deserved for our sins.
Jesus did not ignore our sins or act as if they didn’t matter. He died for them and paid the penalty that we owed. Jesus took away the power that sin and death had over us and the certainty of eternal separation from God. The reason that only Jesus can save us is because only Jesus has the power of a life that has existed forever, and He came to earth to live in the body of a perfect and sinless man so He could offer His life for us.
John 1:1,14, Colossians 1:15-17, Hebrews 1:1-3, all state that Jesus is the Eternal God—Creator of all that exists. No other religion or god ever claimed to create the universe, nor have they demonstrated that they have power over death and sin, as Jesus displayed. For this reason, Jesus is the only way to heaven.
God said that “Behold, all souls are Mine…The soul who sins shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:4). God is perfect and holy and He created us perfect and holy. By our own will, each of us have sinned and broken the laws of God (Romans 3:23). We know this because we feel the disconnect in our hearts through guilt. We know that we are not close to God, but we also feel powerless to do anything about it. People spend their entire life trying to be better people so that God will accept them. The atheist claims that they are free of all the restrictions and demands of religion, but they are still slaves to sin and the fear of death. Jesus came to set us free from the demands of religion, slavery to sin and knowing Him takes away the fear of death. Jesus said that all those who come to Him, find rest and peace. All those who know Jesus discover that everything He asks of us is easy to do and following Him is no burden.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my way upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my way is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” ~Matthew 11:28-30
The truth is, we can never achieve peace or perfection by our own efforts. This is why Jesus came for us. We needed a perfect Savior, but also one who is like us. Just as all those who came from the first man are born sinners by nature, all those who come from the new man, Christ Jesus, are made righteous (Romans 5:12-21).
Who can go to heaven? You can. If you will humble yourself before God and believe that Jesus died for your sins, and receive the free gift that God offers you, salvation can be yours today. All you must do is continue to trust in Jesus and live for Him the rest of your life.
What Happens At Death?
For those who place their trust in Jesus, the moment their body ceases to function, the true person—the real you, the spirit God created in you—leaves your body and immediately goes to heaven. God created us as spirit, soul, and body. The spirit was created in us to be the guiding influence of our life. Because each of us has chosen sin over God, the spirit within us has died. We are guided now by the body and soul, and not the spirit. This is why we don’t know God or understand who He is. It is by the spirit that God is known, not the intellect or human understanding (1 Corinthians 1:18-25).
At the moment that any person turns from their sins and receives Christ, Jesus said that these persons experience a rebirth of their spirit that was formerly dead within them. Jesus told Nicodemus in John chapter 3, that these people are “born again,” by the Spirit of God. At that moment these persons can begin to understand who God is and have a relationship with Him. All their sins are gone and they are fully ready for heaven.
At this rebirth of the spirit these persons become spirit, soul, and body. The spirit now become preeminent. This is the way that God intended that we live—guided by the spirit, not controlled by the body and all it desires.
At death, the body releases the spirit and the soul (your mind, feelings and emotions), and our spirit is carried to heaven to live with God—along with all those who have also believed upon the death and resurrection of Jesus.
These persons will not ever experience judgment for their sins because this judgement has already taken place when Jesus died. There is no period of remaining on earth; no intermediary place of waiting for heaven when we are worthy. Everyone who dies trusting is Christ, is taken immediately into the presence of the Lord. Paul said that if we are “absent from our body, we are at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).
While the rest of the world is still trying to decide whether or not they will receive the free gift of eternal life that Jesus has made possible, we who love the Lord will remain in heaven. We will be reunited with all of our loved ones who also have died trusting in Christ. We will enjoy a perfect life with no evil, sin, suffering, or death ever again. We will laugh, play like children, eat, dance, sing and celebrate our new life.
When this present time of God’s grace has ended and everyone has had a chance to receive or reject Jesus, He will come again to earth as He promised. Pau wrote that Jesus will descend from heaven and all those who have died and have been with Him in heaven, will receive a new body. Those alive on earth will also rise to meet the Lord in the air and they will receive a new and eternal body (1 Thessalonians 13-18). We will return to heaven and wait together for the final seven earth years described by Jesus in the Gospels.
The final judgement of this present world will begin during the last seven years as described by Daniel chapter 9 and the book of Revelation chapters 6-18. Jesus will return to earth as He promised and was predicted by the prophets of the Old Testament. Jesus is coming a second time to be King over the whole earth. Those who have been taken to heaven will be coming back to earth with Jesus.
The kingdom promised to David that will last for 1,000 years will begin. Jesus will rule over the earth with absolute authority. There will be no evil, death, sin, or suffering on the earth. Those who have survived the judgment on earth of the past seven years, but are still mortals, will go into the new kingdom on earth and live under the righteous government of the Messiah.
All those who have loved Jesus and have been with Him in heaven since their death, will be coming again with Jesus to also rule over the earth. Their authority will be determined by their faithfulness to Jesus while living their earthly lives.
The ultimate plan of God is to end all evil on earth by ceasing the present rebellion of those who oppose God and refuse to obey His command to turn from their sins and be saved. Just as people on earth refuse to obey the law and are sentenced to prison for their crimes, those who have refused to obey God’ command for salvation, will also be sentence to prison for their crimes.
As our obedience to God’s command to repent and believe the Gospel carries an eternal reward, so also does the penalty for refusal to obey God, also carry an eternal penalty.
Hell is not the will of God for any human being. This prison was created for the devil and his demons. God has done everything that He could to prevent us from ending up in hell. Jesus left heaven, came to earth, died for us, paid the cost of our salvation, offered it free of cost to anyone who will believe.
God has left the choice of salvation to be decided by us. We can each be saved and live forever with God, or we can refuse to be saved and be sentence along with all other rebels, and never see light or life again.
Everyone can go to heaven if this is their desire. Only a fool would refuse the love that God has offered the world and sentence themselves to an eternal prison. In this life we have choices to make everyday. The consequences of our bad choices in this life are the result of our refusal to do what we should.
I pray that you will understand that God loves you and wants to save you. I pray that your heart will receive the love of God and accept the offer of pardon that God has made available to you. Jesus is calling out to you at this moment. Please do not delay or fail to accept your salvation. Your eternal destiny depends upon your wise decision.
If you would like to receive the offer of salvation that God has made available to you, by a simple heartfelt prayer, you can make your request known to God and He will immediately respond with forgiveness and the gift of eternal life.
The following prayer is presented as an example for you to express your desire to God:
“Dear Lord Jesus, I want to receive the gift of forgiveness for my sins and the eternal life that you have offered me. Thank you for dying for me, Jesus. I turn from my sins now and plan to live the rest of my life for you—trusting in Your salvation and the life you died to give me. Help me to live for you, Jesus, and to tell others about you so they can also receive your gift of eternal life. Help me to open the Bible everyday and read what you said in the New Testament. Help me to pray and talk to you everyday and bring all my needs, concerns, and failures to you. Protect my heart and mind from doubts and guard my life so that I can endure all the trials and difficulties that are ahead. Thank you Jesus for making yourself known to me and for offering your forgiveness today. I receive you and the eternal life you provided.
I pray this in Jesus Name, Amen”
According to the authority of God’s word, if you prayed this prayer and meant what you said, you have become a new creation. The old life is gone, and a new life has begun. Now this is the really important part: no matter what happens to you during the rest of your life, never give up on Jesus. The fastest way to lose your hope and begin to let doubts overpower your mind, it to stop reading your bible everyday and cease from an active prayer life.
You are going to have doubts. You are going to suffer in trials. Jesus said that in this world we will have tribulation. He also said that He overcame this world. Those who remain with Jesus, also overcome the world. I have been a believer for nearly 45 years. I have suffered the loss of many things in my life. I have lost my wife, friends. mother, father, and sister to death. I have failed many times. I have sinned often. I have doubted my faith and considered that I could not live the Christian life. In all these things, I determined that nothing would ever take me away from Jesus or my trust in Him.
If you intend to survive this life with Jesus, you must not let anything get between you and Jesus. Whatever happens, go back to the words of Jesus and read what He said while in your trials and difficult moments. What Jesus said and all He promised, will always keep you centered and bring you back to hope and trust.
I hope to see you in heaven someday and I pray that you continue to walk with the Lord all the days of your life.
Categories: Expecting Jesus Return, Following Jesus, Forgiveness of Sin, Forgiving People, How Salvation Occurs, Jesus Church, Jesus Cross and Wisdom, Jesus is God, Living For Jesus, No Compromise, No one is "good", One Way to Heaven, Overcoming trials, Pleasing the Lord, Religion vs. Relationship, Robert Clifton Robinson, Salvation is a free gift, Studying the Word of God, Suffering and Trials, Those who stop believing, We must repent, We must see our need, What happens after death?, Why Jesus had to die