How to Get to Heaven in 10 Minutes
Have you ever really thought about eternity? This is a big concept to grasp since we can only really visualize our world from what we see in our own lives in the time that we live them. But imagine the 70 or so years of your life as a little dot on the timeline of eternity. Now, imagine drawing that dot on a piece of paper. Now, from that dot draw a line across the page and imagine that line going across the street where you are at now, and past where you can see and out into space. Well that line of time that we call eternity is going to go on forever, but the little amount of time we spend on earth is only that dot. So the real question is, where are we going to spend eternity, and what is it that we do on this earth that will determine where we spend eternity? So this begs the obvious questions about God, heaven, hell, and a lot of philosophical thinking. Since eternity is a very long time one would have to say that the issue of eternity is an important topic to contemplate. So let’s ask the obvious question first. Is there a God? Well you could put up the argument that there is no God, but what if you are wrong? Is the determination of where you spend eternity worth taking that kind of chance?
Again, we ask ourselves the question “Is there a God? Let’s look at a simple example. Suppose you were walking in the woods one day, and you walk up to a stump in the forest and see a mobile phone lying on the stump. So how do you suppose the phone got there? Do you say to yourself that there are all kinds of metals and plastics on the earth, and given enough time these metals and plastics would eventually form in the shapes of transistors, memory chips, buttons and LED screens? So you conclude that eventually this phone would form itself and appear on this stump. Most people would think that this assumption would be absurd. The more likely explanation is that someone had put the phone there. Now consider the complexity of a human being. All of the cells, organs, senses, bones, nerves and DNA all coming together to make a person. Not just a mechanical object , but a person that thinks and feels and loves and cries. Would something that is so much more complex than a phone just form by itself given enough time?
Well, for arguments’ sake, let’s say that there is a God. Now we need to think about heaven and determine what the requirements are to get into heaven. We could say that all we have to do is live a decent life, don’t do anything terrible, and God will certainly let me into heaven because God is a loving being and wouldn’t want any good people to miss out on heaven. But to be fair, we must also say that God is a just being, and must punish bad people for what they have done. So, in order to deal with this, we set up a nice points system. Do some good deeds, get some points. Do some really good deeds and get a lot of points. Do some bad things and you lose some points. So go ahead and live your life and if you get enough points at the end of it, you win the big prize and get into heaven. But what if you miss the total by one point? You told one extra little lie that caused you to miss the point total. Now you spend eternity in hell all because of that one extra lie, or bad thing that you had done. What if you had a pretty bad life, but turned yourself around so that you started building up points toward the right direction. Sounds pretty good except what if you get hit by a bus before you catch up on your point total. Well it seems like the point system has some flaws in it, so what if we try another idea.
Suppose the real ticket to heaven is simply to be able to answer a simple question and you get in. So imagine that God is standing up at the gates of heaven when you walk up, and he says to you: “Answer this simple question and you get to spend eternity in paradise, otherwise, you spend eternity in hell.” And the question is this: “What does two plus two equal?” Well there were a lot of schools down there on earth and some taught that two plus two equaled four, but some taught that it equaled three, or five, or seven. Well you happened to have gone to a school that taught that two plus two equals seven. Your whole life, you believed this and never looked into seeing if it was could have possibly been anything else. But when you answer, you find out that your answer is wrong. Nobody ever told you that two plus two equaled four, and now you are doomed. Similarly, you may want to think that believing in one thing or another will get you into heaven, but what if there is only one way to heaven just as there is one right answer to that simple math question? What if the question that God asks is something entirely different? Suppose the question posed by God is something as simple as “Why should I let you into my heaven?” Well we know that the point system doesn’t work too well, so there must be a better answer. Now we have to ask another question, and that question is; who makes up the rules to get into heaven? Well, since we already assumed that there is a God, and he made heaven, and everything else, I don’t think that we can say that we each individually get to make up our own set of rules to get into heaven. Therefore we’ll let God make up the rules to get into heaven since he created heaven in the first place.
When we think about this, we may now start to think that maybe something makes sense about all of this. So we decide that whatever God wants me to do to get into heaven, I’ll do it, except that he has never told me what to do. Suppose God decided that he would tell everybody one time the way to get into heaven, and people could just decide if they wanted to do it or not. He certainly could tell everyone individually how to get into heaven, but that wouldn’t require any faith on anybody’s part. Since God is God he can do this any way he wants, so let’s say that he is going to tell everyone about the way to heaven just one time. Now ask yourself another question, if God came down to earth and told you the way to get to heaven, would you do it? I think that most people would if they were able to talk to God face to face. What if he had already done it years ago and some people told you about it, would you still do it?
So now we come to the basic question. If you were to die today, are you certain that you would go to heaven? That’s a serious question to ponder, because there is no guarantee that you will see tomorrow. You could die in a car crash, or suffer from a heart attack, or some angry world leader could drop a nuclear bomb on your hometown. Think about that timeline that we talked about before that represents eternity; if you don’t wake up tomorrow, where will you be for the rest of eternity?
So now you are standing before God and he asks the question “Why should I let you into my heaven”. What would you say? Well, God loves you as much as anyone has ever loved you in your entire life, and he wants you to be with Him in heaven. He wants to give you this gift of heaven, but you must be willing to accept it. Think of this gift of heaven as an actual wrapped present that is always with you. When you go to bed at night, it’s next to your bed. When you go to work it’s sitting next to you. It’s with you day and night wherever you go. You can open this gift any time you want, and when you do, you get to spend eternity in heaven, and if you don’t open this gift, you spend eternity in hell. So what do you do? This gift is called grace, and it is God’s everlasting love for you. Why not open it?
We need to explore this gift more, but first let’s talk about ourselves, and more specifically our basic human nature. This human nature of ours has a lot to do with selfishness and pride. We may think that we aren’t such bad people, and we certainly aren’t “sinners”. But think about this; how many murders do you have to commit to be a murderer? Well that answer would be one of course. Then how many sins do you have to commit to be a sinner? Think about a typical day in your life. Something wrong that you did, a bad attitude you had towards someone, or the opportunity to do the right thing that you didn’t do. Suppose you commit just three sins a day. Multiply that out by a typical lifespan, and you would have committed 70,000 sins in a lifetime. That makes us all sinners. Since God created everything, He is the definition of what is good, and in heaven, He cannot allow badness or sin to exist in his heaven. So how can he let people who have all of this selfishness and sin into His heaven?
Like we said, God loves us, he is merciful, and he doesn’t want to punish us. But he must punish sin. Just as a murderer must be punished for committing a murder, we also must be punished for committing the sins that we commit everyday. Consider that by some odd circumstance you killed someone. By accident or on purpose, you did it. You go to trial, and the judge finds you guilty and you are sentenced to death. Your day comes to be executed and you go to get the lethal injection. There are many witnesses at the execution including the judge that sentenced you to die. Just as you are about to be injected with the poison and die, someone walks up and asks the judge if he can take the injection instead of you. The judge says that this is acceptable, and this total stranger takes the injection and dies. You walk away free, never to be accused of the murder again. This seems too good to be true but what if it happened? And it happened already, 2,000 years ago when Jesus died a horrible painful death nailed to a cross. He took the guilt of our sins upon himself and God, the final judge, said that this punishment for all of our sins was acceptable. Jesus’ death on the cross is God’s gift to us. It is that present that is next to us all day long that we are waiting to unwrap. If we believe that Jesus died for our sins, God sees us as people whose punishment has been taken care of, and we may enter His heaven.
So you think to yourself that sure Christianity is one way to heaven, but there are a lot of religions out there. Why can’t they all be acceptable? If you believe this, then you have to assume that God can’t make up his mind about this heaven thing. But if we now say that believing in Jesus is the way to heaven, then we can’t say that any old belief will get me into heaven because Jesus said: “The only way to the father is through the Son.” That means that everything else just won’t work, but why should I believe that Christianity is right and all other religions are wrong? Well there are lots of books that can talk about this in detail, but let’s look at one example from the Bible. First of all, Jesus appeared to all of the apostles (the twelve men who followed him closely in His last years) to confirm that he had risen from the dead. All but one of these apostles died for their faith in Jesus, and most of them could have avoided execution if they simply renounced their belief in Jesus. I doubt that anyone would die for a belief that they knew was false.
There is a significant amount of other evidence that confirms the evidence in the bible including confirming writings from the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, Samaritan historian Thallus, and the Jewish Talmud. In addition there are over 2,000 specific prophecies from the Old Testament written well before Jesus’ time that predicted different aspects of Jesus and His ministry which were all realized with the coming of Jesus. Jesus performed miracles wherever he went, and there are no first century eyewitnesses or historians who ever denied his miracles.
So let’s get back to this gift that’s been sitting beside of us all of our lives. How do we go about unwrapping this gift so that we can spend eternity in heaven? The answer is pretty simple and it is something that is called faith. One definition of faith would be believing in something that you cannot see. Believing in an event that took place 2,000 years ago would be an example of faith. There are a lot of books that discuss the evidence of Jesus’ life and provide solid evidence as to why we should believe Jesus and His claims, and a list of some of these is included at the end of this discussion. Therefore, you don’t have to think of faith as a blind belief in something. But if you examine the evidence, you will find that all of the claims of Christianity are true. Of course you will probably have some doubts in your mind about some of this, but that is where faith comes into play. Faith is trusting God with the things that you are unsure of knowing that He will reveal the truth to you as you investigate them further.
Now it’s decision time. Jesus is knocking at your door asking you to receive the gift of heaven. Are you willing to accept this gift? All you have to do is believe that Jesus is Lord of your life, ask that he forgive the bad things (sins) that you have done throughout your life, and trust that he will protect you as you experience troubles in the future. In addition, you need to start living a life that will be pleasing to God. After all, He just gave you eternal life in heaven; we owe Him a life that honors Him. No matter what bad things you have done in the past, you are forgiven if you ask for forgiveness. That seems pretty simple, and it is, but don’t stop now. Read about Jesus and learn what great plans that He has for your life and for eternity. Learn how to serve Him so that someday you can stand before Him and heaven, and he will look at you and say “Well done good and faithful servant.”