We are not asking about wishful thinking about what MIGHT happen for a temporary period of time. The hope we desire for you to experience involves certainty and absolute confidence about what WILL happen which will last forever. Perhaps for you, the following objection comes to mind, “There are no certainties in this life. There is nothing that is sure to last.”
If your hopes are in the things of this world, then your objection is true. The Bible, God’s Word, affirms that the things of this world are uncertain and temporary:
Matthew 6:19 – “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.” (ESV)
1 Timothy 6:7 – “For we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.” (ESV)
James 4:14b – “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (ESV)
Proverbs 27:1 – “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” (ESV)
1 John 2:17a – “And the world is passing away along with its desires.” (ESV)
The hopes of this world are empty, deceptive, and false. While there are no certainties for which you and I can hope in this world, hope can be found. There is a living hope which causes those who have it to be optimistic about what the future holds. The Bible says:
1 Peter 1:3-4 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.” (ESV)
God has prepared a place in heaven for those who are born into His family through faith in Christ.
John 14:2-3 – “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (ESV)
The believer’s inheritance in heaven is:
Unlike the things of earth which are all subject to deterioration, the inheritance of God’s children is imperishable.
The inheritance of God’s children is not susceptible to any flaw, stain, contamination or defilement that might spoil it.
Unlike the fading beauty of this world, the inheritance of God’s children will be eternally fresh, bright, and beautiful.
The Bible says: 1 Corinthians 15:3 – 4 “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” (ESV)
After Jesus died on the cross in our place to pay for our sins, He rose to life from the grave three days later. Jesus’ resurrection to life gives believers hope that they too will be raised to life as Jesus promised in John 11:25 – 26- “…I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die…” (ESV)
2 Corinthians 4:14 – “… knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.” (ESV)
At a moment in time that is yet future, all believers in Christ will be resurrected to heaven where they will experience the eternal inheritance promised in God’s Word and kept secure by Him:
1 Thessalonians 4:16 -17 – “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” (ESV)
The resurrection to heaven to be with God forever will not be for everyone. It is only for those who have been born again spiritually (1 Peter 1:3).
Romans 3:23 says, – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (ESV)
We have all sinned against God by not obeying His Word and have thereby fallen short of His glory. God’s glory represents the sum total of who He is in terms of His character which is perfect. No one is perfect. We have all failed to measure up to this standard. Do you recognize that you are a sinner who has fallen short of God’s standard?
As was mentioned earlier, not everyone will be resurrected in heaven. That which keeps people from heaven is sin.
Revelation 21:27 a says about heaven, – “But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false.” (ESV)
Romans 6:23 says, – “For the wages of sin is death.” (ESV)
If you were to work for someone for a day and were to receive $120 for your labor, $120 is the wages you have earned. By our sin, the wage we earn is death. Death in this verse is not talking only about physical death, but spiritual death also. The spiritual death that we earn by and deserve for our sins is eternal separation from God in a terrible place called the “Lake of Fire” in the Bible, which is commonly referred to as Hell.
Revelation 20:13b -14 – tells us what happens to those who do this: “Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.” (ESV)
Perhaps you have always thought that you are basically good and that you have not committed enough sins to earn the penalty of spiritual death.
Romans 3:10 -12 – “as it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.’” (ESV)
The penalty which we deserve for our sins, death, was placed on Jesus Christ. He died for our sins in our place and experienced being forsaken by the Father on the cross. He did this as the expression of His great love for us and in order that we might enjoy eternal life with Him as opposed to experiencing what we deserve for sin. The Bible says:
Romans 5:8 – “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (ESV)
1 Peter 2:24; 3:18 – “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed….For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.” (ESV)
The Bible says in Hebrews 9:22b – “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” (ESV)
By Christ shedding His blood, your sins can be covered, and your life can be cleansed and one day made perfect by Christ which will allow you to enter heaven. The offer of forgiveness of sins is provided by Christ’s death on the cross, but forgiveness and a right standing before God is only granted to those who trust in Jesus—we’ll look at this truth more in the next point.
Christ’s resurrection is the proof of God’s acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins so that we can be forgiven. Jesus’ resurrection demonstrates that God’s justice and holiness have been satisfied by what Jesus did for us. Because Jesus lives, God can credit the righteousness Jesus provides to the account of every person who responds to that offer by trusting in Christ. Romans 4:25 tells us that Jesus “was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” (ESV)
Perhaps the following objection has come to your mind,
“I am going to be able to go to heaven because of all of the good things I do like being kind to others, going to church, reading my Bible, being a good person.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 says – “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
God’s Word is very clear that salvation is a gift we receive by God’s grace (His unmerited favor towards us) and not something we can work for to earn for ourselves. Salvation from sin’s penalty is received through faith in Jesus. By believing in or trusting in Jesus, we are saved from sin’s penalty and able to experience eternal life.
John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (ESV)
John 3:36 – “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (ESV)
Is it really the case that we are saved by faith in Christ alone and that our works have nothing to do with our being saved? This point is clearly made by the apostle Paul in Romans 4:1 – 5 – “What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.’ Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.” (ESV)
If you would like to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior from sin and to be given living hope, then place your faith in Him right now and express your faith to God through prayer: