You are a born sinner because of Adam’s sin. When Adam sinned, a sin nature passed down seminally throughout the generations, thus rendering every descendant of Adam, a born sinner. Furthermore, you abundantly contribute your own personal sins to your record throughout your life by thinking, speaking and doing things that are contrary to God’s holy character. So sin is not just about crimes, or overt immoral acts. Coveting, jealousy, gossip, slander, and bitterness are just a few examples of what sins are. As stated earlier, what we consider harmless "bacteria" (sin) is bacteria nonetheless, preventing access to God and His Heavenly laboratory, not because He doesn't love you but because there is a legal barrier of sin separating you from Him, a pure and Holy God, and that barrier must first be removed. Just like in a laboratory environment, a single bacteria or spec of dust would affect the integrity of the laboratory, in a similar way, you have to be bacteria and dust free in order to enter the clean and sterile laboratory of God. In God's laboratory, there is no way in without being cleansed first. The key thing to remember is that you cannot cleanse yourself. It must be done for you.
The penalty for one or more sins is eternal separation from God, referred to as the Lake of Fire or Hell, because a sinner cannot be in the presence of a holy God who resides in Heaven (while being omnipresent as well).
Because of your sin nature, you are imperfect and thus you cannot produce “good deeds” to pay for your sins because an imperfect being has only access to imperfect ways of producing deeds and therefore all the resulting deeds are imperfect by essence. To be acceptable to God, a deed and its source (man) must be perfect because its destination (God) is perfect.
For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment (rag). (Isaiah 64:6)
Religions, being systems of works and deeds, cannot be the solution for the problem of sin. The only solution is that God reaches down to you, rather than you attempt to reach Him through “good deeds”. He reached down to us by offering us a solution that satisfied the legal demands of His righteous character. Justice and righteousness do not negate God's loving character but rather all of his attributes co-exist in harmony. This is why God sacrificed His own son; so that the legal barrier separating you from His love could be removed once and for all because we are unable to remove it ourselves.
The solution is that someone else dies in your place, and be separated from God (the penalty of sin), thus acting as a substitute. This substitute must satisfy the legal requirements of God’s righteous character, thus why the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament and modern day religions cannot meet this standard.
…Sacrifice and offering Thou (God) hast not desired, but a body Thou hast prepared for Me (Jesus Christ); In Whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast taken no pleasure. (Hebrews 10:5-6)
The only acceptable legal substitute is Jesus Christ, who is the second person of a triune (trinity) God. He took the form of flesh and lived a perfect humanity without sin (impeccability), even though He was tempted in every way (in His humanity, not in His deity).
And the Word (Jesus Christ) became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld (saw) His glory, glory as the only begotten (unique, one of a kind) from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
Jesus Christ agreed willfully to go to the cross, die (in His humanity) and be separated from God as a substitute for you, so that you, a lost and hopeless sinner, can have access to Heaven without contradicting God’s justice.
After Jesus Christ died on the cross (in His humanity), He was raised to life on the third day and received (in His Humanity) eternal life, and a resurrection body that will never perish, a Gift from God.
As a sinner, because Christ has already paid for your personal and inherent sins (past, present and future), the moment you believe that Jesus Christ did this for you and that His death alone is the only way you can get into Heaven, God freely gives you eternal life and you are then found “not guilty” in God’s court room. All you have to do is believe.
When you are saved from the penalty of sin, it doesn’t mean that you are automatically saved from the power of sin. You will still commit sins but you will not be condemned for them. You will be held responsible for them, thus you do not have a license to sin but how you are held responsible for your future sins no longer involves eternal separation from God. This is what is called progressive sanctification. (past, present and future)
Thus it is the sole belief in what Jesus Christ accomplished for you on the cross that saves you and allows you entry into Heaven. When you believe this, legally, you are declared not guilty and the righteousness of God is credited to you as a gift because payment has been made on your behalf by the only acceptable substitute, Jesus Christ.
…knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but by precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. (1 Peter 1:18-19)
It is only belief in this that can save you. Believing this but also adding your deeds to this belief will not save you. Thus a Catholic, who believes in Jesus Christ but also adds a total of 7 sacraments to the list of required things to be saved, cannot be saved. The concept of religion automatically implies deeds added to faith and thus all religions are disqualified as a means of salvation, even religions that center on Jesus Christ.
It is faith alone in the work of Christ alone accomplished at the cross on your behalf that saves you. Not faith plus sacraments like baptism, for example, because if it were the case, that would imply that God accepted an imperfect work as part of the salvation process.
For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Baptism is something you do AFTER you are saved to give a public testimony that you WERE saved from the penalty of sin by grace and not by works.
When I understood this, I believed that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins as a substitute for me and this substitution satisfied the righteous demands of a holy God in His court room and as a result of trusting solely in the act Jesus Christ did on my behalf, I now have eternal life.
Once you are saved from the penalty of sin, you can then begin the journey of being saved from the power of sin until, ultimately, God will save you from the presence of sin by giving you a glorified and resurrected body, after you die or when Jesus Christ returns, all depending which event happens first.
…who (Jesus Christ) will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. (Philippians 3:21)
Ask yourself the following question:
“Do I believe that it is 100% sure that I will go to Heaven even though I am a sinner and as a sinner, I cannot be in the presence of a perfect and holy God unless my sins are paid for and I know that the penalty of sin is eternal death and separation from God?”
I can answer YES to that question. Can you?
The solution is not religion or human effort. The solution is the free gift of eternal life from God through Jesus Christ. Are you willing to accept this or would you rather try and work your way to Heaven, which by definition is impossible?
Believe as I did and receive the free gift of eternal life. All you have to do is tell God that you accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and that you believe that he died on the cross to pay for your sins because you now know that you cannot pay for your own sins, such as by being a good person compared to a criminal for example. Only Christ could pay for your sins because, being God who took the form of man, He is sinless and died, in His humanity, as a substitute for you. Tell God you believe that Christ paid for your sins and that no one else could do that because everyone else, by their own admission, is a sinner and in need of salvation. The blind cannot lead the blind and thus the sinner cannot save the sinner or himself. Tell God that you accept Christ as your Savior and that you are trusting in Him alone for your salvation, not in anyone else, not in any religion, not in morality, human effort, sacraments, good deeds, or anything else. Just faith alone in Christ alone. Christ said that He is the only way, no one else can grant salvation but Him, which He gives as a free, no strings attached gift, to anyone who believes in Him for salvation. If you have made this decision and told God about it, you now have the free gift of eternal life. You can never lose it because your salvation is not dependent on you and what you do or abstain from doing, but rather is dependent on Him alone. As in any gift given to you, you must accept the gift first, before you can reap its benefits. Believing in what Christ did for you alone, is what gets you to Heaven. Nothing else. Heaven is not about "good" or "bad" people. Christ paid for the sins of all, whether good or not in society's eyes. It's about accepting the key that He wants to give you so that you can enter Heaven. Just accept the key by believing, and only believing in Him and what He did you you. Once you have the free gift of eternal life, you cannot lose your salvation because once adopted as a child, you will always remain in the family of God, even if you are a rebel child. Grace is a gift that no one can earn or work for or merit. Salvation is a gift for anyone who believes in what Christ did on the cross. So if you are at a coffee shop and someone asks you, how do I go to Heaven, the only answer is: accept Christ as your Savior. Do I have to do anything else? No. Do i have to change my life to be acceptable to God? No. Just believe.It's a one time decision. Once the decision is made, even if you forget you made it years ago, you will have eternal life. If it was possible to lose it, then Christ died in vain. Religion is what you can do for God. God says you can do nothing. Therefore He did it for you, but you have to believe it, before you can appropriate the benefit. If I gave you a cheque for one-billion dollars and told you that it was a gift and that you have nothing else to do but cash it, you could not benefit from that cheque unless you believe in me, in my promise, by cashing the cheque. Please cash the cheque that God wants to give you by simply believing it.
By the way, once you accept Christ as your Savior, a one time decision, you automatically are made to be a Saint and a Priest. This is what the Bible states. Surprising, isn't it? Sainthood and priesthood have nothing to do with being a clergy member of a religion. Sainthood and priesthood are a gift from God once you have accepted Christ as Savior because eternal life is not the only gift you receive at that moment. I can think of 63 amazing things that the Bible states are given to you at the moment of your salvation; all free. It's the sainthood and priesthood of Christ that are credited to you the moment you believe, just like it is Christ's righteousness that is credited to you the moment you believe in Him as Savior. It's about what God can freely do for you, not about what you think you can do for God.
For more information about the simplicity of God's plan for salvation, you may want to also read the following articles: Riding the Death Train and You Must Be Born Again.
For short and simple videos explaining salvation by faith alone in Christ alone and what comes next, please go to the following web site by clicking this link: videos about salvation and what comes next. These videos are part of a series called the "Spiritual Basics Series". You can order a free copy of the DVD's. You can also watch each video directly from your web browser by clicking the icon that looks like a camera or you can right-click the camera icon for each lesson and save it to your computer.
Summary of God's Plan for Salvation
1 John 5:11-12 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. The one who has the Son has this eternal life; the one who does not have the Son of God does not have this eternal life.
This passage tells us that God has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son, Jesus Christ. In other words, the way to possess eternal life is to possess God’s Son. The question is, how can a person have the Son of God?
Separation From God
Isaiah 59:2 But your sinful acts have alienated you from your God; your sins have caused him to reject you and not listen to your prayers.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
According to Romans 5:8, God demonstrated His love for us through the death of His Son. Why did Christ have to die for us? Because Scripture declares all men to be sinful. To “sin” means to miss the mark. The Bible declares “all have sinned and fall short of the glory (the perfect holiness) of God” (Rom. 3:23). In other words, our sin separates us from God who is perfect holiness (righteousness and justice) and God must therefore judge sinful man.
Habakkuk 1:13a You are too just to tolerate evil; you are unable to condone wrongdoing.
The Futility of Our Works
Scripture also teaches that no amount of human goodness, human works, human morality, or religious activity can gain acceptance with God or get anyone into heaven. The moral man, the religious man, and the immoral and non-religious are all in the same boat. They all fall short of God’s perfect righteousness. After discussing the immoral man, the moral man, and the religious man in Romans 1:18-3:8, the Apostle Paul declares that both Jews and Greeks are under sin, that “there is no one righteous, not even one” (Rom. 3:9-10). Added to this are the declarations of the following verses of Scripture:
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 it is not of works, so that no one can boast.
Titus 3:5-7 he saved us, not by works of righteousness that we have done but on the basis of his mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us in full measure through Jesus Christ our Savior. 7 And so, since we have been justified by his grace, we become heirs with the confident expectation of eternal life.
Romans 4:1-5 What then shall we say that Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh, has discovered regarding this matter? 2 For if Abraham was declared righteous by the works of the law, he has something to boast about (but not before God). 3 For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” 4 Now to the one who works, his pay is not credited due to grace but due to obligation. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in the one who declares the ungodly righteous, his faith is credited as righteousness.
No amount of human goodness is as good as God. God is perfect righteousness. Because of this, Habakkuk 1:13 tells us God cannot have fellowship with anyone who does not have perfect righteousness. In order to be accepted by God, we must be as good as God is. Before God, we all stand naked, helpless, and hopeless in ourselves. No amount of good living will get us to heaven or give us eternal life. What then is the solution?
God is not only perfect holiness (whose holy character we can never attain to on our own or by our works of righteousness) but He is also perfect love and full of grace and mercy. Because of His love and grace, He has not left us without hope and a solution.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
This is the good news of the Bible, the message of the gospel. It’s the message of the gift of God’s own Son who became man (the God-man), lived a sinless life, died on the cross for our sin, and was raised from the grave proving both the fact He is God’s Son and the value of His death for us as our substitute.
Romans 1:4 who was appointed the Son-of-God-in-power according to the Holy Spirit by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 4:25 He was given over because of our transgressions and was raised for the sake of our justification.
2 Corinthians 5:21 God made the one who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the right-eousness of God.
1 Peter 3:18 Because Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, to bring you to God, by being put to death in the flesh but by being made alive in the spirit.
How Do We Receive God’s Son?
Because of what Jesus Christ accomplished for us on the cross, the Bible states “He that has the Son has life.” We can receive the Son, Jesus Christ, as our Savior by personal faith, by trusting in the person of Christ and His death for our sins.
John 1:12 But to all who have received him--those who believe in his name--he has given the right to become God's children
John 3:16-18 For this is the way God loved the world: he gave his one and only Son that everyone who believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. 18 The one who believes in Him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.
This means we must each come to God the same way: (1) as a sinner who recognizes his sinfulness, (2) realizes no human works can result in salvation, and (3) relies totally on Christ alone by faith alone for our salvation.
If you would like to receive and trust Christ as your personal Savior, you may want to express your faith in Christ by a simple prayer acknowledging your sinfulness, accepting His forgiveness and putting your faith in Christ for your salvation.
:: THE GOOD NEWS DIRECTLY FROM THE BIBLE ::
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God." (John 3:16-21)
:: GOD BECAME FLESH
"…who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:5-8)
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1)
"And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)
:: NO OTHER NAME
"And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12)
:: NO OTHER WAY
"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.'" (John 14:6)
:: A SAVIOR IS ANNOUNCED
"She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21)
:: PROPHETS BEAR WITNESS
"Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins." (Acts 10:43)
:: A MEDIATOR
"For there is one God and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus..." (1 Timothy 2:5)
ARE YOU GOING TO HEAVEN?