There is a parable in the Bible that deeply touches me every single time I read it. About twenty years ago, shortly after making the decision that I needed to rededicate my life to the Lord, my pastor preached on this text. I went to work the next day, and asked all of my work friends if they knew for sure, where they were going when they died? They all laughed, some nervously, but I know they saw my sincerity and thought about it. I still think about my loved ones and am drawn to my knees in prayer when I read this:
“There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house— for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’” Luke 16:19-31
So, if we claim with our mouths that we are believers, is that enough? If we believe, will our character and behavior give evidence of what we believe? Or is our faith just talk?
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
So how does a person know for sure that they will be go to heaven?
1. Acknowledge that God is our Creator and Authority over all.
2. Recognize that we are all sinners and need a Savior.
3. Repent from our sins and turn to the Lord.
4. Accept Jesus as the Lord of your life and submit all that you are to Him.
5. Believe that the Bible is the unchangeable truth.
This is a condensed and simplified way to know that you will be in heaven, but if I really want Jesus as the Lord of my life, I must continue to grow and learn, so that I can become who He created me to be and serve His purposes, not my own. None of us knows when our last day will be, but to know where we are going when we die, the time is now to make the decision. Ultimately, once we die, our eternal destiny is irreversible.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I want to know that I will be in heaven with You when I die. Jesus, I give you my life and all that I am, I am turning away from my old ways, and keeping my eyes focused on You. You alone can save me from eternal death. I want You. In Jesus Name, I pray, Amen.