Apologetics - How Do I Get to Heaven?
Hello and welcome back. Today, we will look at a response that every person who have shared the Gospel message have heard or will hear.
When evangelizing, many times we do not know the status of the person’s salvation, so we ask. In asking them one of the most commonly used question when evangelizing, “If you were to die today, are you sure without any doubt, that you will go to heaven?”, we will encounter a plethora of responses and questions. One of the responses that is commonly heard is what we will be looking at today. I have personally heard the following response from those who were a self-proclaimed ‘good person’, Catholics, and even Christians.
The fact is, we sometimes make claims or call ourselves something to which we really have no idea what it entails and means. Let’s say I was to buy a bass boat, the latest and greatest in fishing gear, and fishing clothes. Perhaps there are even witnesses who have seen all my gear. However, I do not go to any body of water with my boat, do not use the latest and greatest gear I obtained, nor do I actually go fishing. Can I really call myself a fisherman? How about if I only fish one time?
YHWH, is our righteousness and just God. HE is also the Creator of all things and serves as the legislative, executive, and judicial branch. He can not be tempted and is incorruptible (James 1:13-14). Looking at the truths of His sovereignty, we can automatically agree that He lays down the rules. It’s no different than a parent making it known to their children what they can and cannot do. A parent doesn’t do this out of hatred but out of love and protection of their beloved children. For example, if Tommy, a 12-year-old asks to go to a rave in the woods, most parents would respond with, “No, Timmy, you are 12. You can not go to a rave party by yourself in the middle of the woods. I don’t care if your friend is going or who is performing.
When our parents made it clear to not do something and we did it anyway, regardless of what it was, we disobeyed them. If they give us the consequences for disobeying after telling us what we can and can not do, the fault does not lie on them, but us. We chose not to obey, and we chose to accept the consequences.
(Christian) “If you were to die today, do you know for a fact that you would go to heaven?”
(Unsaved) “I would like to think so. I’m a good person. I don’t steal and I haven’t killed anyone. I go to church sometimes. I mean, God is not going to send good people to hell.”
(Christian) “Well, first off, I’m glad to hear that about you. Since you go to church, I’m sure you’re familiar with the Bible.”
(Unsaved) “Yes, of course. I keep one on my nightstand.”
(Christian) “That’s wonderful. So that means you’re familiar with 1 John 1:8-9 which states, “If we say we have no sin we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
(Unsaved) “But I’m a good person. That should count for something.”
(Christian) “Well, what that verse is saying is that none of us are truly good. We have all sinned and/or are continuously sinning, but God, our Father, has a way that we can be forgiven for our rebellion. We have this assurance in Romans 10:9. John 3:16-17 tells us what God did for us and why. It almost sums up the Bible in just those two verses.” (Feel free to recite these verses or just reference them. However, reciting has a more powerful impact, seeing that the person does have a Bible and is somewhat familiar with Scripture. “With your permission, can I please have just a few minutes to try and clear this up?”
(Unsaved) “Yes, please.”
(Christian) “Thank you so much. Well, you don’t have to actually tell me, but over the span of your life, have you ever lied? Have you ever had sexual intercourse with someone you weren’t married to? (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) Have you ever disobeyed or dishonored your parents or how about instead of saying a foul word, you instead used the name Jesus? (Exodus 20:7,12) We all need forgiveness. Our good deeds do not eliminate the sinful action we’ve done; good deeds do not cancel out bad ones. If one was to slap his brother and later feels sorry and decides to give the brother his favorite toy, it doesn’t negate the fact that he slapped his brother. So, if the parents warned each of them not to hit each other or “x” will happen, then the slapper, regardless of the good deed afterwards, rightfully deserves the consequences. It’s no different when a parent tells their child not to do something and the child decides to do it anyway knowing the consequences. Finally, friend, one of the biggest mistakes people make is when we mistake what God says as an option. When the king of a nation speaks to his people, is what he says optional or considered royal decree?”
(Unsaved) “Well of course what the king says goes. There’s no options. It’s either done or you face the punishment.”
(Christian) “Exactly! So, have you heard of the title King of kings and Lord of lords?”
(Unsaved) “Of course. It’s Jesus.”
(Christian) “Right, and according to Scripture we know that in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word is God (John 1:1). So, what Jesus tells us is the same as if God said it because Jesus is God. Knowing this then, the King told us what not to do (ten commandments) and by us doing any of those things, we have sinned, deserving of the consequence. The consequence is not being able to go to Heaven. But I have Good News. He has provided grace so that we may be forgiven for ALL our sins and have the assurance of receiving eternal life in Heaven. Would you like this assurance?” From here, if the individual says yes, proceed with your presentation.
Thank You, Father, for sending Your Son so that we may be saved. Through Your love and grace and that of Your Son Jesus, as well as what He done on the Cross, we have the Good News of Salvation. Help us to be Your light and to point others, who do not know or believe, to You and the truths that are in You. We love You and will be mindful to give You all the glory. Amen.