Many people think they will go to heaven because they believe in God and are a good person. Though they may be a good person, compared to others, the Bible says in Romans 3:10, "none are good, no not one." We are not to compare ourselves to others to determine if we qualify for Heaven, but, have we done what God has commanded.
You may say, "I might have broken one or two Commandments but nothing serious." In the Bible, James 2:10 says, "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." The Bible says we are all sinners, because Jesus was the only one who could ever obey all 10 Commandments.
Commandment #1 Exodus 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Have you ever failed to put the Lord Jesus first in your life? Many put their lifestyle, career, other people, money, or fun as more important than Jesus.
Commandment #2 Exodus 20:4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Who is God to you? Is He only a God of love and mercy and would never judge and never cast anyone into hell? If that's your god then you're right. Your god couldn't cast anyone into hell because your god doesn't exist. You have created a god in your own mind that you are more comfortable with. You may call it your "personal belief" but God calls it idolatry. It's the oldest sin in the book and God warns that idolaters will not inherit the kingdom of Heaven.
Commandment #3 Exodus 20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. Have you ever taken the Lord's name and used it as a curse word?
Commandment #4 Exodus 20:10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: The Bible tells us Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, Do you spend your Sunday for Christ or for someone else, perhaps yourself. The Lord commands us to give Him this day.
Commandment #5 Exodus 20:12 ¶ Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. Have you ever disobeyed or had a disrespectful thing to say about your parents?
Commandment #6 Exodus 20:13 Thou shalt not kill. Many will say I have never killed anybody but in 1 John 3:15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. The Lord sees hatred in the heart to be as wicked as murder.
Commandment #7 Exodus 20:14 Thou shalt not commit adultery. Have you ever looked upon another person with lust in your heart. Notice what Jesus said in Matthew 5:28, "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."
Commandment #8 Exodus 20:15 Thou shalt not steal. Have you ever taken anything from a friend, at the office, or at the store, that wasn't your own?
Commandment #9 Exodus 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Have you ever told a lie? the Bible says in Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Commandment #10 Exodus 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's. Have you ever deeply craved and desired something that belonged to another person? Their house, car, money, family, fame, good looks, lifestyle, etc. This is coveting.
Who of us can say that we are not guilty of breaking these commandments. This is what the Bible means when He says in Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Romans 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Simply pray and confess that you're a sinner who wants to repent (to turn away from your sin) and ask the Lord to take you to Heaven when you die. Then read the Bible and talk to God every day (prayer is just talking to God like you would a friend).
Believing in Jesus and doing good works ≠ saved and going to heaven.
Intellectual belief G A P Saving belief
A personal relationship with Jesus is what is needed to close the gap.
The personal relationship is achieved by:
When receiving Jesus Christ as your savior:
Saying, “I’ve believed in Jesus all my life.” may mean that you have intellectual faith, but if you can point to a date or event when you asked Jesus to save you, that would be saving faith.
“Lord” is written 185 times in the Gospels, Jesus is addressed as, “Lord,” not “Jesus.” Lord is deity, authority, power, control, master, ruler… When you ask Jesus to forgive your sins, you accept Him as Lord of your life. Actually, he is the Lord of all people, saved or lost. And, one day all knees shall bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord (Romans 14:11).
Do I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ which took place at the moment I confessed my sins, repented of my sins, yielded it all to Him and allowed Him to forgive me, transform me, make this awesome eternal change in my life. I want you to be clear that your faith is NOT just intellectual, but saving… a person, the Son of God, the only sacrifice that could take care of your sin and you’re willing to yield your life to Him. That means a change, a transformation in your life, a different direction in your thinking…
What do I say, exactly? It’s not just what you say, but what you mean in your heart. You say this, “Lord Jesus, I do believe that you are the Son of God. I do believe what I’ve heard and what I’ve read, that you died on the cross and somehow your death paid my sin debt in full. And that if I accept you as my personal savior, you will forgive me of my sins, change my life, and that you will empower me to walk a different kind of life. And, I’m asking you to forgive me and I want this personal relationship he’s talking about.” The moment you do that, you don’t have to beg God, but ask sincerely with a surrendered heart and He will do it!
Dr. Charles Stanley:
(A Saving Faith is the name of the sermon at InTouch.org)