HEAVEN IS A FREE GIFT!
That's right. A pretty tough concept for people raised with the idea "You have to work hard in order to get anything worthwhile". Truth is... salvation is a present to you for which Jesus has already paid. All you have to do is accept it. You don't earn it or work for it. That would insult God. Plus, it doesn't work.
"If you declare with your mouth "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved."
Romans 10: 9- 10
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Romans 6: 23
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."
John 3: 16
I'm a "whosoever" and you are too - or, at least you can be.
HEAVEN CANNOT BE EARNED OR DESERVED
In our own ability we cannot earn and we do not deserve Heaven. It is given to us as a free gift from God. It is just like when we give someone a gift. We don't want that person to pay for the gift. We simply wish to give the person the gift. He or she doesn't have to "earn" it, nor does the person have to "deserve" it.
How would you like it if you gave someone you loved a priceless gift, only to have them offer to pay for it? It would show they don't understand the true value of the gift.
"For by grace are you saved through faith. It is a gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast."
Ephesians 2: 8-9
The word "grace" means unearned and undeserved favor.
HERE IS HOW IT WORKS:
WE ARE ALL SINNERS
LET'S FACE IT, NONE OF US ARE PERFECT.
"All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God"
Romans 3: 23
WE CANNOT BE PERFECT
No matter how hard we try, even our best efforts cannot meet God's standard, which is perfection. To meet the standards of a perfect God in a perfect Heaven we would need to be perfect too. But we are not!
You might look at it this way. If Heaven were Hawaii and we all lived in California we would have a long way to swim to get to Heaven. Maybe you're a pretty good swimmer. You might be "good enough" to get a lot further than me, but you aren't good enough to get to Hawaii. Even if you were good enough to swim that far, you would never find it on your own. In the same way, it is impossible to be good enough to be perfect. You might make it a lot further on your own than I would, but perfect (on your own) is out of the question.
Fortunately, God is merciful - and doesn't want to punish us.
"...God is love."
1 John 4: 8
GOD IS ALSO A JUST GOD;
THEREFORE, HE MUST PUNISH SIN
God can't compromise justice. Even though God is love, His perfect integrity doesn't allow Him to ignore the punishment due as a result of sin.
On one hand God loves us and wants us to go to Heaven, but on the other hand, a just (and perfect) God must punish sin. It sounds like a problem doesn't it?
Well, God solved this problem through the person of Jesus Christ!!
Jesus is God and man.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory"
John 1: 1, 14
("WORD" IS ANOTHER NAME FOR JESUS)
Jesus came to bridge the gap between God and man.
Jesus came and died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins: He beat death and Hell; arose to life again; and purchased a place for us in Heaven.
It takes just a little faith to believe and trust in Jesus
Faith is the only key to receiving the free gift of eternal life in Heaven.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not by works, so that no one can boast."
Ephesians 2: 8-9
Some people think they will get into Heaven by being a good person, or going to church or because they were brought up in a Christian home. But believing and trusting in Jesus Christ alone is the only way to receive the gift of eternal life in Heaven. All these other things are good things, but they are not going to get you in to Heaven.
You see, God knew we couldn't be perfect. He sent His Son to suffer and die for the sins of the whole world. That is sad, but the good news is He descended into Hell itself, conquered the Devil and death itself, arose again, victorious and ascended into Heaven. All we have to do is accept the work of Jesus and put our faith in Him and we receive salvation from our sins, eternal life and a host of other benefits.
The Good News from the Bible is:
"Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because 'THE RIGHTEOUS WILL LIVE BY FAITH.'""
Galatians 3: 11
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
John 3: 16
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