“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” (John 3:36).
Jesus said, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36). Life on earth is short. No matter how prosperous, life is tragic if it ends in eternal separation from God.
Jesus warned that the way to heaven is hard: "Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:13-15).
The Bible tells us how we can enter the narrow gate and be assured of paradise.
Can good works earn me a place in heaven?
Many people think following God’s laws and doing good works will get them into heaven. Muslims, for example, strive to keep the Five Pillars. If good deeds outweigh bad deeds, people hope God will accept them. But God says in the Bible that no person can earn heaven.
“For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. . . . for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:20, 23).
The more a person tries to obey God’s laws found in the Bible (ultimately fulfilled in perfectly loving God and neighbor—Matthew 22:34-40), the more a person sees he is a sinner. God is a just Judge with a holy wrath against sinners (Romans 2:5). He will punish sinners—regardless of good deeds done or laws kept (Ecclesiastes 12:14; James 2:10; Revelation 20:11-15). Since sin prevents our entrance to heaven, who can help us?
Can Jesus bear the wrath of God against sinners?
A substitute, taking the punishment for a sinner, must be perfect. Otherwise, that substitute must receive God’s punishment for his own sin. The only perfect One who walked on earth is Jesus (1 Peter 2:22-24).
Thousands of people witnessed Jesus’ miracles, teachings, and prophecies. They knew “. . . how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins" (Acts 10:38b-43).
All true prophets witness that believing in Jesus is the only way sinners can be forgiven. Without Jesus as your Savior from sin, you will face Jesus as Judge with your sins exposed. Either Jesus dies for your sin (bearing the wrath of God on the cross), or you die for your sin (bearing the wrath of God eternally in hell). Jesus says, "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins" (John 8:24).
How can I believe in Jesus?
Who is Jesus? What must you believe about Him so that you do not “die in your sins”? Read the book of John in the Bible to find out. “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).
You will find that Jesus is not only Man but He is also the Word who was eternally with God and was God (John 1:1). By Him, God the Father created all things (John 1:3). God the Father sent Jesus, His beloved Son, to earth in human flesh to die on behalf of believing sinners (John 3:16). Then, Jesus became alive again to show He conquered sin and death. After 40 days, He rose to the Father’s side in heaven. One day, He promises to come again to judge the world and rule forever.
Even the demons believe Jesus is God’s Son (Matthew 8:29). To be saved, you must not only believe the truths about Jesus, but you must believe in Jesus.
Jesus alone can save you from sin. You must repent of your sin—not trying to take care of sin on your own but trusting in Jesus Who died to pay for your sin and set you free from sin (John 8:31-36).
Those who believe in Jesus—not merely knowing about Him but trusting in Him as Savior from sin and Lord/Master of their lives—will be saved from sin and hell.
Jesus assures those who believe in Him of heaven! “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).