One of the most important pieces to knowing God is the Bible. The Bible is the main communication path from God to us. Everything He wants us to know is there. There is no new information, no new ideas, no new teachings. The Bible is the final word of truth and everything in it is from God. It is the Word of God. There are no errors in scripture. This is also reiterated to us in 2Tim3:16. All scripture came to the writers from God Himself. It is not the opinions of the writers. The writers were simply the instruments God used to communicate his Word to us. That is the truth.
The question is, do we believe the truth? It is impossible to follow Jesus and know God if we don’t know or believe His Word. We have to believe the Bible 100% or not at all. If we pick and choose what to believe in the Bible then we have no firm foundation for our faith and an inaccurate picture of God. When we pick out the things we like in the Bible and dismiss the things we don’t like then we create our own God. We mold the character of God to look the way we want Him to look, and to be the way we want him to be instead of understanding who He really is. When we only partially follow the Bible then we can quickly adapt our belief system to fit in nicely with society and culture. We essentially live life our own way instead of His way. What is the result of this? We live a life that favors us, our comfort and our own belief system. We fail to truly know God. We miss out on his blessing and the consequences can have eternal impact.
In order to know God and to live his way, we have to commit to completely believing everything in His Word. Then we have to seek his strength and power to live by His Word, because we cannot live His way on our own.
A common theme in our culture today is that if we are good people, if we have pretty good ethics, if we love other people, if we believe there is a God, then we will find our way to Heaven. Another common theme is there are many ways to Heaven based on your “religion”. How often do we hear at a funeral “He was a good person”. Unfortunately there is no peace in that statement alone. What would bring peace and joy at a funeral is if people were saying “He loved Jesus”. The truth God reveals to us in the Bible is that no one is good enough to get into Heaven on their own. (Rom 3:10 & Rom 3:23) Our standard for “a good person” is not the same as God’s standard. It is impossible to live a life good enough for God. This is because every human ever born after Adam and Eve was born into sin. No exceptions, all humans are sinners, even the “good people”.
The Bad News
Sin entered the world after the choices of Adam and Eve and every person born after them inherited sin. When this sin entered our world it broke everything in the world and it severed the relationship between man and God. God is holy and sin cannot exist in the presence of a holy God. It is impossible. The bad news for us is we are all separated from God because of sin. Our God is a just God who is completely righteous. He doesn’t try and act righteous, he is the standard for what righteous is. Since he is just and righteous he does judge and punish all sin. This punishment for sin is eternal separation from Him, apart from Heaven, forever. This is all extremely bad news for all people. (Eph 2:1-3) However, there is good news.
The Good News
Luckily for us, there is some very good news, known as the Gospel. The good news is that God loves us so much that He chose to make a way back to Him for us. God wants a relationship with every one of us and it is not His desire to be separated from us. (2 Peter3:9) So, he created a rescue plan that would allow us to come back to Him and live with Him forever in a sinless world. This rescue plan was Jesus Christ. Since our sin separated us from God, He came down to earth to provide a way for us to get back to Him. God the Father sent his Son Jesus Christ down here to earth to take our punishment for sin. The punishment we deserve as sinners, Jesus willfully took in our place, so that we don’t have to be separated from God anymore. God poured out his entire wrath for the sin of mankind on Jesus. This sacrifice Jesus made was the only action possible to fulfill the wrath of God for man’s sin. There is nothing we can do to make up for our sin. The blood Jesus shed on the cross was the only thing that could make up for it. So now, we are righteous and perfect in the eyes of God….IF….we accept Jesus as the savior for our sins and make Him the King of our lives (repentance). When we know Jesus as our Savior and King we are no longer separated from God and we can live in Heaven forever with Him. Jesus is the only way back to God for us. Without Him we have no life in Heaven and we are still responsible for our debt of sin which we alone cannot pay. (Eph 2:4-9, 2Cor 5:21, Rom 6:23, Rom 5:8, John 3:16)
A very common misconception is that if you just “Believe there is a God” you will go to Heaven. This theory was implanted by the enemy (Satan) with the intention of deceiving people. And it is working. Just believing there is a God is not enough. In fact, the Bible even addresses this topic in James 2:19. James tells us that even the demons believe in God. They do not follow Him or recognize Him as their Lord, Savior and King. But they know He exists. An intellectual belief that a God exists does not lead to salvation.
Repent & Believe
What is required to get into Heaven is to pay off the debt for the sin in our lives. Unfortunately we cannot pay that debt off. It is an impossible debt for us to pay. However, Jesus already paid it for us. What is really meant by the term “Believe” is for us to believe that Jesus will get us into Heaven. Believe that He has paid our debt for sin at the cross and then make Him our King (repent). That is how we get into Heaven. When we make Him our King we stop living the way we want and start living His way. Living His way is true repentance. That is the only way to get into Heaven, through receiving Christ as our savior and Lord through repentance and faith. We cannot know God if we don’t first know his Son, Jesus. It is impossible. This doesn’t mean we know a few things about Him. It means we know Him personally and seek to know Him better for the rest of our days on earth. Many people have said “I have known God my whole life”. However, that is impossible. You cannot know God until you first know Jesus. You cannot know Jesus until you receive Him through repentance and faith.
Other Ways to Heaven
There is no other way to Heaven and no other way to know God except through Jesus. This is made very clear throughout the Bible. Jesus even speaks these words to make sure there is no confusion on this topic – Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) Jesus is the only way, and He tells us that very plainly in this verse. There is no other way.
Many people in our culture today will say this is narrow thinking, a limited view. In Matthew 10, Jesus tells us that our culture will say things like that. He warns us that the majority of the world will not believe Him or live his way. Everything Jesus did on earth was completely against culture. But everything Jesus did was for people, because he loves all people. That’s why He came, because of His love. It is the only reason He came and did what He did.
What about all of the other religions out there? They claim to know God. They do claim to know a god, but do they know the true God? We have to go back to the Bible. Do we believe it 100% ? If we do believe the Bible then we know those other religions don’t know God. Why? First, the Bible tells us there is only 1 God. As we know, it’s impossible to know Him because of the sin in our life. So we have to know Jesus in order to know the one true God. All of the other religions out there have a different belief when it comes to Jesus and how to know God. Again, this may sound very narrow and limited for there to only be one path to God. But, this is not my plan or idea. This is God’s plan that He has clearly outlined in the Bible. If we believe there is another way to God or Heaven then we are essentially calling Jesus a liar. He has told us in John 14:6 that there is no other way. These may be strong words, but they are truth. And misunderstanding this important truth has eternal consequences. Don’t miss this critical point.
There is one essential element that sets Christianity apart from all other religions. The leaders of all other religions died and are still dead today. The leader of Christianity died, and then rose from the grave, proving that He is indeed the Son of God. He then ascended back into Heaven where He is still alive today. No other religion can say that.
One can try and dispute Jesus, however, there is ample evidence to support Him. It is an undisputable fact that a man named Jesus walked the earth and was crucified on a cross. No one can dispute that as it’s a historical fact in nonbiblical history books. But, was he truly God and did He rise from death to later ascend back into Heaven? My testimony is absolutely yes.
First, many people saw and touched his physical body after his resurrection. Those people are all witnesses to his resurrection. Later, those same people were persecuted, tortured, beaten and even killed for testifying that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead. Think about this, if you were going to be beaten, tortured, persecuted, exiled and even killed, would you go through all of that for a lie? If it wasn’t true, wouldn’t you just admit it was a lie to avoid all of this hardship? I sure would. But these people knew it was true because they were there. They saw Him. That’s why they went through all of that persecution, to stand for the truth.
Lastly, myself and countless others can attest that Jesus is real because of the radical change he has made in our lives. When you accept Jesus as your Savior and give your life to Him then He changes you. He changes the way you think, act, and live your life. You will still sin, still make mistakes, and still make the wrong decisions sometimes. But each day He will transform you a little more until the day you see Him face to face. On that day you will be made completely perfect. That is how I know it is true. Because I am no longer the person I once was, and I don’t have the ability to change myself. Only He can do that. If you have ever tried to change yourself then you will understand this.
If all of the above is indeed true (which I attest that it is) then what about all of the many people who have other beliefs? What about all of the other people out there who I love and care for? Our mission is to share the Good News of Jesus with them. We don’t have the ability to change their hearts or make them believe in Christ. Only God can change hearts through His Holy Spirit. However, the Holy Spirit works when we share Jesus with those who do not know Him. When we tell the story of Jesus, his Holy Spirit works in those who are listening and then they have to make the choice to respond to Jesus with repentance and faith or to reject Him. That is the job of the Christian, to proclaim the message of Jesus to all people so they can be saved by His Holy Spirit. Christian’s can’t save anyone. But they can proclaim His message so that people will respond to the urging of His Holy Spirit and receive Him. Many of the things mentioned here will not make sense to those who do not yet know Jesus. The Bible even attests to this fact. (1 Cor 1:18) I can attest to this, because like everyone, I have not always known Jesus and this didn’t make sense to me at one time. But I can assure you, once you accept Christ, he will make it clear and you will understand.
Lastly, I would encourage you to be honest with yourself. Only you and God are going to know the answers to these questions. Do you know Jesus? Not just know about Him or believe He exists, but do you truly know Him? Do you know and believe God’s Word? Do you live by it? Is he truly your King? Have you ever asked Him to save you and be your King? Are you growing in your relationship with God each day? Are you closer to Him today than you were last month? Last year? Do you have a burning desire to know his Word? Do you get excited about worship? Excited about going to Church? Do you enjoy talking about Him with others?
Have you surrendered everything to Him? Because that is what He is asking of you, complete surrender to His plan. Despite what some may think, He is fully in control of this earth and the universe. Why would we not want Him to lead us? Why would we want to try and be our own King? He already knows the future, shouldn’t we allow him to guide our lives? He only wants what is best for us. He proved His love when He sent Jesus here. That proof should be enough for us.
If we ever think we know everything about God and the Bible and that we have already completed our spiritual journey then we need to take a step back. Don’t believe this lie from the enemy. There is no retirement from spiritual growth when we know Jesus. There is always a next step. It is impossible to know and understand everything about God in this lifetime. He is immense. Your growth has no end. If you are still breathing on this earth, God is not done with you yet. It is not just luck that you are still here. Don’t miss this.
If someone asked you the question: based on a percentage, what are your chances of getting into Heaven? If you truly know Jesus the answer will be a strong 100%. There will be absolutely no doubt in your mind about your salvation. Are you completely confident you are going to Heaven? Do you know for sure you are saved?
Maybe you already know Jesus. If so, nothing here was new information to you. Or maybe He is calling you right now to accept Him as your King and receive the free gift of eternal life in Heaven. Or maybe you are thinking this information is ridiculous and you don’t believe it. If that is the case, then I would desperately urge you to ignore the voice of the enemy right now. The enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy, but Jesus came to bring us eternal life. Don’t listen to the lies of the enemy, choose to hear the Voice of Truth.
If you haven’t and you are ready to surrender all to Jesus then it is quite simple. Just ask Him. Ask Him to save you and give you eternal life. His answer will always be yes. Romans 10:13 says “for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Translated, accept Christ as the savior for your sins and make Him the new King of your life. Live His way now. (repent) And believe that He will indeed get you into Heaven because he has paid your debt. Note the verse says everyone. That means all people, as in you. Don’t reject Christ’s hand that is reaching out to you. Let Him save you today. He is the only way.
None of us know how much time is left to accept Christ. Imagine sitting in a jail cell with the door open. Today you can choose to walk out of that jail cell through the open door. But one day, that cell door will close and be locked forever. Don’t be in that cell when the door closes. Choose Jesus now.