Dr. Walter D. Huyck Jr. D.Min.
Dr. Walter D. Huyck Jr. D.Min.
Of all the questions we face in life I think the question of how to secure eternal life is most important. While there are many varying philosophies among our world's religions my purpose here is to focus upon God's revealed method as disclosed in the Bible.
When asked, "how does a person get to heaven?" An expected response is "I believe in God." It is here that I find I must probe for a more complete answer or assume that this individual does not know the means to salvation at all. Why? Because the Bible says:
Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. (James 2.19)
According to this Scripture Satan and his demons know that there is a God, and they fear Him. They have access to the very Throne Room of God where the devil accuses the saints. They were there and saw the original creative acts that brought our universe and all life into being, through the power of God. They witnessed the incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. If any being believes that there's a God and a physically resurrected Christ it is Satan and his evil cohorts. Yet there will not be any one of them in heaven.
All of this proves that it takes something more than mere intellectual assent to gain eternal life or to experience the new birth. A person that states that they are going to heaven simply because they believe in Jesus leaves me wondering what they mean by their statement.
So, just what does it take for a person to go to heaven
Reckon and Proclaim.
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10.9-10)
First a person must believe in their heart that Jesus rose physically from the dead. Notice the "in thine heart" part. In my opinion this expresses the depth of ones conviction. It is the "I know, that I know" type of assurance. The disciples knew because they literally touch Jesus resurrected body, they knew that he was not a ghost or spirit, He was really alive (Luke 24.37-40).
Next, a person must confess Jesus as Lord. Now, be careful here, we don't really understand the concept of a Lord in America. This is the idea of a King who owns everything in His kingdom, even the people. It is truly a huge step for those of us raised in a free democracy to surrender ourselves on this level. Perhaps we never truly surrender like we should, but I believe that God will meet a sincere individual and will guide him or her as they walk with Him.
The New Birth
To help develop your understanding of salvation a little more I want to take you to Revelation 3.20:
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
The ultimate truth surrounding God's revelation of Himself is presented here. God wants far more than for you to just know about you. He wants you to have a personal relationship with Him. God wants to walk with you and talk with you, and the only way for this to happen is for you to let Him come into your life. Now, God is all-powerful and could force Himself upon you, but He has already decided that He won't establish this relationship that way. Instead, you must consciously decide to have Him in your life, and you must open the door for Him.
Receiving Jesus into your life is the New Birth. At the moment you open the door to your life, Jesus comes into you and you then become a child of God. That is what these verses reveal to us:
"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:" (John 1.12)
"And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." (1 John 5.11-13)
Please understand, it is not my knowledge of God of Jesus that saves me, it is His presence within me that assures me that I am saved. While this sounds a little incredible to the person that has yet to accept and receive Jesus into their life. I assure you that it is very real. The fact that Jesus dwells within me is more real and vibrant than my relationship with my wife or children, and it can be for you too.
Perhaps that was what you meant when you said you believe in Jesus Christ. For you I issue this challenge, be more clear in the way you express your salvation, some lost soul may end up in hell because he or she thought mere knowledge was all that was necessary.
Or, on the other hand, you may be one of those people who know of Jesus but have never received Him personally. Won't you open the door to your heart right now by accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. I suggest that you read the Accept Jesus Now page.