Is it possible to be sure of heaven?
"Believe in Jesus;" "Join the church and be faithful;" "die as a martyr and you get heaven dozens of virgins to fulfill your lust;" "go to confession, receive Communion and you might get to heaven eventually;" "do good to others, be tolerant and whatever heaven is, you will probably get there;" "heaven is a figment of your imagination, so think good thoughts, be nice, recycle and maybe in the next life you will be rich or famous."
With all of these "religious" thoughts and others being perpetuated daily in Southern California, how is a person to know with any certainty if there even is a heaven, much less how to get there? I would be the first to admit that when it comes to something as important as eternal life, my opinion is no better than any other.
When we talk about spending eternity somewhere, we need something better than the philosophies of other mortals like ourselves, whose motives are questionable at best. After all, maybe we are being promised eternal life for our good behavior, or our militant service because it furthers the purpose of others.
So, how can we be assured of heaven when we pass from this life to the next? I only know of one person who has lived in both worlds and can speak authoritatively on the subject, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.
In three weeks, Christians around the world will celebrate His resurrection from the dead. In that act of defiance over the grave, the Lord Jesus Christ earned the right to speak authoritatively on the subject of eternal life!
I realize that there are sincere people who stumble over the fact that it is possible to interpret the words of Jesus so as to twist them into agreement with a particular church's teachings, so in this article I would like to simply quote the words of Jesus without comment, and let the reader interpret them for him or herself.
On the subject of heaven, Jesus said:
John 14:1-6 — "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
And that, my friend, is good enough for me. Happy Easter!
DWIGHT TOMLINSON is pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Newport Beach.