"I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life." 1 John 5:13
Recently my 14 year old son, Jeremy, conspired with me to come up with an idea to get a discussion going during his weekly prayer meeting with his friends at school. We came up with the idea of asking them, "On a scale from 0-100% how sure are you that you're going to heaven when you die?"
Jeremy had them write down the number on a piece of paper (anonymously) and turn them into him. A few of the numbers hovered around the 50-60% mark. This may seem somewhat surprising because these are teenagers who go to a solid Christian school, attend a weekly chapel service and daily Bible class. But, having ministered to hundreds of thousands of teenagers for the last 24 years through Dare 2 Share events I am convinced that many teenagers who go to youth group week in and week out (let alone the ones who don't!) struggle with the issue of being sure of their salvation.
So, my question for you is this...how sure are you?
If you think about it, knowing for sure we are in an unshakable, unbreakable relationship with the God of the universe that will end up with us in his presence forever is the most important issue we will ever face. Our eternal destiny is more important than which spouse we will marry, college we will go to or career we will have. This life is 70 or 80 years long and then, after that, it will be spent, either in the presence of God (heaven) or the absence of God (hell)...forever.
2 Thessalonians 1:8-10 captures the seriousness of it all, "He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you."
I am absolutely convinced that God wants his children to be absolutely convinced that they have eternal life and will be with him someday. He tells us this clearly in 1 John 5:13. He wants us to "know" that we have eternal life!
So how can we be 100% sure? The answer is more simple than you might think. We look to Jesus and his Gospel ("Good News") message! This simple GOSPEL message will help you understand this Good News message clearly and embrace the hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ. Here it is...
God created us to be with him. It's not about a religion, it's about a relationship with God. This is what we were made for. He formed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden to be recipients of his love and for that love to be reciprocated through worship. The earth and humanity was made to be in perfect fellowship with each other and their Creator.
Our sins separate us from God. When Adam and Eve broke God's command by eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil sin entered their hearts and into all of humanity's. Their bite into that piece of fruit ripped into the fabric of that perfection and sin rushed into the human heart like an unstoppable tsunami. Adam and Eve's defiance that day created a seemingly uncrossable barrier between the created and their Creator, between us and God.
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds. For millenia humanity has tried bridging this gap with acts of religion that range from sacrifices to good deeds to rituals. But none of these actions could ever bridge the gap. They are white frosting on a burnt cake. There is nothing humanity can do in and of themselves to cross this barrier. So God crossed it through his Son Jesus.
Paying the price for sin Jesus died and rose again. Jesus is fully God and fully human. As a man he could die for other men. As God his payment for sin is infinite. When Jesus died in our place for our sins on the cross he provided the way out. He took God's punishment for our sin when he was separated from God on the cross. That's why he screamed out, "My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?" In that moment when Jesus bore our sin and the Father turned his back on his Son he felt the wrath of God on our behalf. His separation from the Father on the cross that day meant that we could be reunited with him. His broken body and shed blood crashed through that uncrossable barrier and opened the way for us to, not only be forgiven for our sins (Colossians 2:13-14) but to be permanently adopted into God's family (Galatians 4:4-6.)
Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. If we simply put our faith in Jesus based on his death, burial and resurrection from the dead on our behalf, then we have eternal life. Jesus put it this way in John 6:47, "I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life." It's not a matter of behaving but believing. It's not a matter of trying but trusting. So the question is this...do you believe that Jesus died for your sins and are you trusting in him and him alone to save you? If you have done that then you have eternal life!
Life with Jesus starts now and lasts forever. Once you are born again into the family of God (John 3:3) you cannot be unborn. Once you cross the line of faith you are forever a child of God! You can be sure you have eternal life! I'm so sure that I'm going to heaven when I die that I'd trapese over hell blindfolded holding nothing but a spider web...not because I'm good, but because the only one who was truly good (Jesus) died for my sins!
But remember that this gift of eternal life is not a license to sin but a reason to serve! It should motivate us to love Jesus and serve him with all of our hearts because we are so grateful for his amazing gift!
I challenge you right now to put your faith in Jesus if you haven't. You can say this simple prayer in your heart to God, "Dear God, I believe that you created me to be in a relationship with you and that my sins have separated me from you. I understand that my sins could never be removed by my good deeds. But right now I believe that paying the price for my sin Jesus died and rose again. I trust in him alone and receive that gift of eternal life. Enable me to be 100% sure of this relationship all of the time, not because of anything I have done but because of what Jesus has already done for me through his death, burial and resurrection! Amen!"
If you put your faith in Jesus you can be "100%" sure you are of going to heaven someday, not because you said a prayer, but because you put your faith in Jesus!
Now share that good news with everyone you can!