Many believe that if they try hard in this life to do good, that God will accept them into heaven when they die. Yet the Bible makes clear that getting into heaven is not something we can accomplish in our own power. Ephesians 2:8-9 clearly teach, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Being saved from sin and receiving eternal life cannot take place by our works. Getting into heaven requires faith in Jesus Christ.
Why is getting into heaven based on faith? Heaven is a perfect place that is free from sin. Yet every person except Jesus has sinned. Romans 3:23 teaches, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Ecclesiastes 7:20 adds, “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.” No matter how hard you may try, even one sin is enough to keep you from heaven unless you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ.
The good news of the Bible is that, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). He knew we would each fail, sin, and lack the ability to enter heaven apart from Him. He died in our place, offering Himself as the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6) that would allow us access to heaven by faith in Him.
Can anyone come to faith in Jesus Christ and receive eternal life? Yes! In John 3:16 Jesus promised, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” This “whoever” includes you.
How can a person place his or her faith in Jesus Christ and receive eternal life in heaven? Romans 10:9 answers, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Salvation occurs when we accept Jesus as Lord and believe He rose again from the dead.
When we do, we can be confident that He will accept us. Romans 8:1 teaches, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” First John 5:13 adds that we can know for certain that we are saved and will spend eternity with the Lord when we die: “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.”
Have you been trusting in your own efforts and goodness to receive eternal life? Today, you can place your faith in Jesus and know for certain you will have eternal life. There is no special prayer you must pray to do so. Remember, salvation is not based on your works, but on God’s grace. However, the following prayer is one you can use to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior:
“Dear God, I realize I am a sinner and could never reach heaven by my own good deeds. Only you have the power to save me. Right now I place my faith in Jesus Christ as God’s Son who died for my sins and rose from the dead to give me eternal life. Please forgive me of my sins and help me to live for you. Thank you for accepting me and giving me eternal life.”