How You Can KNOW You’re Going to Heaven

Susie and I had dinner with some long-time friends last week. As we neared the end of the evening one of them commented, “This is so good. Just think how great Heaven will be (If I get there).”

We all quickly countered our friend’s comment by assuring her she’d be in Heaven. She wrote off her comment to her “Catholic guilt.”

Guilt notwithstanding, I found her comment a little troubling. I wasn’t troubled so much for my friend, as she is a godly woman and a decades-long follower of Jesus. She knows her eternity is secure. But it troubled me for many other Christ-followers who still struggle with the question of their eternal destiny.

The Bible pulls no punches on this topic. As God’s children, we are supposed to rest assured in the fact that Heaven is our home and that Jesus is coming to get us. 1 John 5:13 says, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.”

So, let’s talk about it. Let me list ten things (I could list dozens more) that are true about you if you’re a Christian:

  • You’ve been born again (or born from above). Jesus also called this second birth being “born of the Spirit,” John 3:1-8. It’s a gift of God, and it’s irreversible.
  • You’ve been sealed or marked by the Holy Spirit, Eph 1:13-14. He basically seals you as his property, his prized possession.
  • You’ve been adopted as God’s son or daughter, Rom 8:15. Paul based his theology of adoption on Roman culture. It was a permanent act that gave full benefits and rights of the family to the adoptee.
  • Your spirit has been made eternally alive, Eph 2:1-5. Your eternal life begins the moment the eternal Holy Spirit takes possession of you.
  • You’ve been saved by God’s grace, which means you didn’t earn it. It’s a free gift, Eph 2:8-9. Do the math, if you can’t earn it you can’t lose it.
  • You’re seated with Jesus in the heavenly realms, Eph 2:6. You’ve got a seat at his table, and he won’t give it away.
  • You’ve been forgiven of all your sins, Col 2:13. God’s forgiveness makes you holy, and thus qualified for Heaven.
  • You’ve been washed and made holy by Jesus’ blood, 1 Cor 6:11. What God declares holy, no man can make unholy.
  • Jesus is preparing a place (house) for you in Heaven, John 14:1-3. And, he’ll come and get you when it’s ready.
  • You’re a completely new creation, 2 Cor 5:17. A new creation with a new identity and a citizenship in Heaven.

With all of this going for us, how can we ever doubt that our eternity is secure?

Friend, get used to the biblical truth that your salvation is based on the eternal love and work of Jesus and not on any merits of your own. Once you cross the line of feeling like you need to earn God’s love and favor, accepting it for free (and the Heaven that comes with it) will be much easier for you.

Does that help? I’ll say more about this in future entries.

The Role of Faith in Knowing God

If you struggle with faith, this may encourage you.

People having to walk by faith was not part of God’s original plan. Adam and Eve, the original humans, had full access to God. They could see him, talk to him, walk with him. Their relationship was based on loving obedience to him.

Because they could see him, they didn’t need faith. The very nature of faith is believing in what you cannot see, in what you cannot prove. The original humans didn’t need a belief system–they had sight instead.

Genesis 3 changed all that. When Adam and Eve sinned, they lost that wonderful and innocent access to God they had so taken for granted. Because they became sin-stained, they couldn’t be in God’s unfiltered presence.

Compare the scene in Exodus 19, when the Israelites were terrified of God’s flaming and thundering presence on the mountain, to the “walking with God in the cool of the day” access that Adam and Eve had known. The difference? Sin.

In a sight-based environment, faith isn’t required. Just obedience. That’s how God’s followers who could see and know him demonstrated their love–they did what he said.

But in a sin-based environment, one where God cannot be seen and access to him has been lost, faith is the most critical ingredient. Faith even precedes obedience in importance, because we don’t even know that we need to obey God until we believe in him.

Thus, in the Genesis 3 world, the world where everything is contaminated by sin, faith is the most powerful tool a person can have. Faith bridges the gap between the perfect worlds of Genesis 1-2 and Revelation 21-22. Faith wasn’t necessary in the pre-sin world and it won’t be necessary in the post-sin world either. We won’t need faith in Heaven. Yea God.

But today, in the sin-filled world where access to God is by grace only, faith is everything. That’s why the writer of Hebrews told us that without faith it’s impossible to please God (Heb 11:6). We may not be able to see or prove God, but he still expects us to believe.

Pray for your faith level. Pray for God to deepen your understanding of him and his holy, mysterious ways. Pray for the courage to walk by faith. Read God’s Word so you can learn more about him.

And then, do whatever God tells you to do. Obedience is still the best way to grow your faith and to show your love for God.