By Justin Edwards
Have you ever thought about what happens when you die? What's on the other side when you walk out of here? Since the life after death is for eternity, it's a pretty important answer to find out, wouldn't you agree? It is guaranteed that 10 out of 10 people die, and I'm sure every one of us wants to go to heaven. In fact, arguably 5-10% of the United States population are atheists/agnostics, so that's a pretty good assumption that most Americans believe they will be in heaven after they breathe their last breath. But that's not exactly accurate with Jesus' words in Matthew 7:13-14
13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
How do we know we will go to heaven when we die? How do we know if we are on the narrow path that leads to eternal life? Well, there is a way we can know with 100% confidence where we will spend the rest of eternity, so let's see if you are good enough to go to heaven.
God has a standard whereby He judges us to see if we are good enough to enter His presence. You may have heard have of these before - they are called the 10 Commandments. Let's look at a few of them:
Have you ever told a lie before? If so, you would be called a liar - join the club.
Have you ever stolen anything before? Even something small and a long time ago? If so, you would be a thief.
How about using God's name in vain? Substituting God's name for any expletive is breaking His Law, and this includes the various derivatives of God or Jesus Christ. This is called blasphemy.
Have you ever been angry at anyone before? If so, God says you commit murder in your heart (Matthew 5:21-22).
Have you ever lusted after anyone? Jesus says if you have, you have committed adultery in your heart (Matthew 5:27-28).
If you have answered yes to these questions, and if you are like me you probably did, you have admitted that you are a lying thief, a blasphemer, an adulterer at heart, and a murderer at heart. When you stand before God on Judgment Day and He judges you according to His standard, would you be guilty or innocent? And if you are guilty, would you deserve heaven or hell? If you are like me, then your answer is probably hell.
You may have admitted to breaking these laws of God and that would make you a law breaker. When we break the law of America, there must be a penalty paid for that offense. We can't just tell the judge we're sorry and we'll never do it again. He would tell us "well you should be sorry and you shouldn't do it again", but if he is a just judge, he cannot let us go simply because we were sorry. It's the same thing with the Law of God. When the Law is broken, there must be a penalty paid. God would be more wicked than any of us if He allowed our lawlessness to go unpunished. Unfortunately, none of us are able pay this debt. We are all condemned and must pay the consequence, which is spending eternity in hell separated from God forever. That is, of course, unless someone paid our fine for us.
There is good news! 2,000 years ago, God loved us so much that He became a man in the flesh through His Son Jesus Christ. He was born of a virgin and went on to live a perfect, sinless life. The only way sin can be atoned for is through the offering of a bloody sacrifice. In the Old Testament, this was done by offering a spotless lamb and this would atone for sins temporarily. But Jesus offered Himself as the spotless Lamb of God in order to wash away the sins of the world once and for all, thereby no longer requiring a blood sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins ever again. It is why He said, "It is finished." Jesus the Son of God paid the penalty for your sins, for my sins. He stepped in and actually took the punishment for you. He paid a debt He did not owe because you and I have a debt we cannot pay. He actually became sin on the cross so God could punish His own Son instead of us. When God raised Jesus from the dead 3 days later, He accepted the sacrifice of His one and only Son as payment in full. This is God's gift to us.
Would you like to know how to receive this gift? Do you believe that Jesus did this for you? Do you believe that He is the Son of God, who died on the cross for you, and God raised Him from the dead 3 days later? Do you believe you are a sinner? Do you believe you need a Savior?
Jesus says we must repent and believe in the Gospel. Confessing you are a sinner means you agree with God that you have broken His Law. Repenting means that you realize you cannot save yourself, that your life is hopeless without Jesus Christ, and you turn from yourself and what you can do for you and you turn to God in complete trust in Him to save your soul. You forsake yourself and your sins. No amount of work can save you, being a good person doesn't save you, Jesus Christ is the only one who can justify you before God. This means you can be declared innocent before the Righteous Judge in Heaven, but you must give up on yourself and put your faith and total confidence in Jesus and what He did for you 2,000 years ago.
If you believe in these things, and you are ready to commit everything you are to Jesus Christ, you can do this now. All you have to do is cry out to Him - ask Him to save you. Tell Him you are a wretched sinner in desperate need of a Savior, that you cannot do this on your own, and you are hopeless without Him. Cry out to Him with all of your heart and commit your life to Him. Call on the name of Jesus and confess Him Lord of your life and you will be saved. You must surrender your life to Jesus Christ, but before you do, make sure you have counted the cost.
Are you ready to count the cost? Are you ready to lay your life down for the King of kings and the Lord of lords? His grace and mercy await you - run to Him, with nothing in your hands. Flee from the wrath that is to come, and run to Him.