“Just then someone came up and asked Him, “Teacher, what good must I do to have eternal life?”” (Matthew 19:16, HCSB)
People often ask what it takes to get to heaven. They are curious about eternal life and they want to know how to obtain it. I often ask: “In your opinion, what does it take for a person to get to heaven and obtain eternal life?” I often answer with the statement: “May I share with you how the Bible answers this question?” I use the following outline. It was developed by the Southern Baptist Convention‘s North American Mission Board and can be obtained at LifeWay stores. Here is the outline:
F is for FORGIVENESS
We cannot have eternal life and heaven without God’s forgiveness
“We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7, HCSB)
A is for AVAILABLE
Forgiveness is available. It is available for everyone.
““For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, HCSB)
However, forgiveness is not automatic.
““Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21, HCSB)
I is for IMPOSSIBLE
It is impossible for God to allow sin into heaven. because of Who God is – God is loving and just. His judgment is against sin.
“For judgment is without mercy to the one who hasn’t shown mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:13, HCSB)
It is also impossible for God to allow sin into heaven because of who we are – Every person is a sinner.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23, HCSB)
But how can a sinful person enter heaven, when God allows no sin?
T is for TURN
Turn means to repent. Everyone must turn in order to follow Christ.
To turn from something – sin and self
“No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as well!” (Luke 13:3, HCSB)
To turn to Someone – trust Christ only
“If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9, HCSB)
When we turn from our sin and turn to follow Christ, this allows us to go to Heaven.
““I assure you: Anyone who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24, HCSB)
H is for HEAVEN
Heaven is a place where we can spend eternal life.
Eternal life begins here for the Christian:
“…I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” (John 10:10, HCSB)
Eternal life continues in Heaven
“If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:3, HCSB)
How can a person have God’s forgiveness, heaven and eternal life, and Jesus as personal Savior and Lord? By trusting Christ and asking Him for forgiveness.