How can I be sure that when I die I will go to heaven?
Can we really know for sure we will go to heaven when we die? The Bible says we can. In 1 John 5:13 we read, "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life." The question in this verse is whether we have truly believed in the Son of God. John 3:16 shares, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." If we do believe in Him, we can rest assured that we will enjoy eternity in heaven with Christ.
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How do we know if we have believed in the Son of God? Romans 10:9 says, "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." This verse reveals the essentials necessary for believing in Jesus. First, we must believe Jesus is Lord. In other words, we accept Him as God's Son who came to earth as "God with us" (John 1:14). Second, we must believe Jesus rose from the dead. His power over death proved His teachings were true; He is the King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16).
When we believe in Him, we receive salvation as God's free gift of grace through faith: "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" (Ephesians 2:8-9). Our salvation is not based on our good works, therefore we cannot lose our salvation because of mistakes we make in seeking to live for Christ. John 14:3 even teaches that Jesus returned to heaven to prepare a place for us to live with Him forever: "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."
Romans 8 speaks at length regarding the confidence we have as believers in Jesus about our eternal home in heaven. Its first verse notes, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." When we believe in Jesus as the risen Lord, we are no longer condemned before God. We are forgiven and will be accepted as part of God's family (John 1:12). By the end of Romans 8 we are promised, "For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39).
Are you certain that you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ as the risen Lord? If not, you can decide right now to trust in Him. There is no special prayer you must pray, but the following prayer can be used to help you take the important first step in believing in Jesus:
"Dear God, I realize I am a sinner and could never reach heaven by my own good deeds. Right now I place my faith in Jesus Christ as God's Son who lived a perfect life, died in my place, and rose from the dead to give me eternal life. Please forgive me of my sins and help me to live for you. Thank you for accepting me and giving me eternal life."
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