Friend, what happens to you after you die? Where will you go and what will you do? God’s word says,
“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
Jesus also said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me” (John 14:6).
Jesus answered and said unto him, "Verily verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
Some believe they’ll go to heaven because they’re a good person or because they’ve done good things, like keeping God’s law. Others believe they can’t go to heaven because they’re too bad. Whether you believe you are good enough, or not good enough, please read on. The issue is not whether you are good or bad. There’s something else you need.
In John 3:1-7, we encounter a very good, moral, successful, sincere, well-respected member of society, and a very devout, careful religious leader speaking with Jesus. By every imaginable standard of being deserving of a place in heaven, in God's favor, this man qualified!
Yet, that good man, with as much religion as he knew and practiced, could not see what the kingdom of God really was! In fact, his religion was clouding his view! What religion are you? Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, Presbyterian, Amish? It really doesn’t matter, but as sincere as you are, it may be a poor substitute for what the kingdom of God and eternal life really is. You see, when it comes to favor with God, being good is not good enough!
This man, Nicodemus, had a good name, a good reputation and a good religious background. But it wasn’t good enough. And Jesus spoke directly to him and said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Just a couple of verses later, Jesus adds, that “Except a man be born of water [physical birth] and of the Spirit [spiritual birth / born again], he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
As good as Nicodemus was, he needed something more. According to God's word, none of us are “good enough”. Romans 3:10 says, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” Just a few verses later Paul adds, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” That is why Jesus came. To do for us what we could never do - be good enough! God became a man so that He could satisfy the just demand of a righteous God. There must be a payment / penalty for sin, and we cannot meet that demand. Whether you believe you’re good enough, or too bad, you need Jesus and that is exactly why He came: To save sinners – all kinds, good and bad ones!
So, Jesus took our place at Calvary’s Cross. He died in our place to satisfy God’s justice. But also to make that payment on behalf of, and as a substitute for, any who would take personal responsibility for their sin, repent (change mind about / turn away from sin), believe, ask God to forgive them, and exchange their sin and self-centered life, for Jesus’ righteous and selfless life (2 Cor. 5:15, 17-21). This is the good news of the gospel! There is hope and there is healing in Jesus Christ. God freely offers the gift of righteousness to any and all who genuinely desire and then ask for it.
Where can you place the guilt, the shame, the regret, the hurts and horrors of your past, present, and future? How can you be forgiven and freed from the burden and bondage of sin and self? Are you tired of yourself yet? Where can peace, pardon, purity and paradise be truly found? Confess your sin to Jesus (God), and ask Him to take your sin and give you His righteousness, and forgive you. He will and He's waiting. What are you waiting for?
In reality, this is like a death bed confession and funeral – yours! By virtue of repentance and faith in Jesus Christ you are confessing all known sin to God as one who desires to have a clear conscience. By being as thorough as you can, you recognize God is comparing His perfect record of all your sin to the genuineness of your confession.
Be honest, and be as thorough as you can, God will know if you’re sincere. Don't hold anything back, seek to cover it up, or put a favorable spin on it. God already knows and is awaiting your taking responsibility for it. Be honest about all your "crimes against God." This may take awhile, right?! Don’t be in a hurry.
You are also giving consent to God to take your life and replace it with His. You are giving consent to being placed by God into Jesus Christ's death, burial and resurrection. You are repenting of your life so that you can be given the life of Christ.
Ask God to give you His life for yours and you’ll be born again. What happens spiritually is that God takes you to Calvary’s cross and crucifies and puts to death your sinful past, present and future, and buries you with Jesus. But that’s not all! Because your sins have now been paid for, He can raise you (spiritually) in newness of life: Jesus’ life! Your sinful, selfish life is exchanged for Christ’s righteous life: You’re born again! You’ll know because your life will be changed.
Jesus alone offers the gift of eternal life. Please carefully read the following to help you understand what needs to happen to receive forgiveness, righteousness and eternal life, for any one, regardless of how good or how bad they are:
Realize. Sin is an offense against God’s holy and just laws. We are all guilty and our sins separate us from the family of God. We’ve sinned against eternal God, and the penalty is eternal damnation. Except you repent of your sin, cry out to God for mercy, and receive forgiveness from God, you cannot enter Heaven, but will instead spend eternity burning in Hell: There is no other option!
You cannot save yourself. Jesus took your place fulfilling God’s law for you, and paying, in your place, God’s penalty for the sins you committed. Realize that no religion can save or serve as an alternative to Jesus Christ, since all of mankind comes from one man, Adam. He sinned, and in doing so, passed sin and death upon all men. Only Jesus can remedy the sin condition (Rom. 5:6-12, 17-21, 1 Cor. 15:20-22, 45-49, John 14:6, 1 Tim. 1:15, 2:3-6, 1 John 1:6-2:2).
Believe that Jesus is God, became a man, died for your sins, was buried, and that He was raised from the dead, proving He alone was God. In Him alone the penalty for sin was paid in full and accepted by God (Romans 3:10, 23, 5:8-12, 6:23, 10:9-13, Acts 17:30-31, John 3:3-7, Heb. 10:10-14).
Repent. Take responsibility for your sin and ask God to forgive you and deliver you from it, no longer desiring to live in disobedience to God. Acknowledge that neither your religion nor good deeds can earn salvation: It is a gift offered by the grace (unmerited favor) of God, meant to glorify God. Be willing to turn from your sinful ways and lifestyle, and humbly turn to God in faith asking Him to lead and conform you to His ways.
Understand that you are turning from an unrighteous life to a righteous one, empowered by God’s Holy Spirit: A new “birth” producing a new life (John 3:1-12, Acts 17:30-31, 2 Corinthians 7:10-11, Romans 8:1-16, 1 Pet. 1:2-5, 18-23).
Request. You are seeking to be “rescued” from the sin you cannot deliver yourself from – you need God’s help! Acknowledge to God that you cannot save yourself thru good deeds, religious affiliations, baptism, communion, or anything else. Then put your complete faith and trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ. (He is God who became a man, shed His blood and died on Calvary’s cross, in your place, to pay the penalty for your sin).
While believing sincerely that Jesus Christ rose bodily from the dead (proving He is God) and by humbly admitting that you are a sinner, ask Jesus Christ to have mercy, forgive you, and save you from sin. Ask that He give you His gift of righteousness and eternal life, in exchange for your sinful and selfish life.
Receive. Upon confession of your sins to God, by faith, turn from your sin (forsaking it), and turn to the only Savior, Jesus Christ, trusting only Him, and with no merit of your own, cry out for mercy! The Bible says you will freely receive the gift of forgiveness for sins (pardon and purity), and reconciliation with God (peace). Christ’s Holy Spirit now indwells the new born believer to empower and influence us to joyful obedience to the Bible.
Just as you had a physical birth, now, upon repentance and believing faith, you receive a new, spiritual birth: You’re born again just as the Lord Jesus (God) promised (John 1:12-14, 3:3-7,16, 36, 6:37, Romans 5:1-10, 6:1-5, 23, Titus 1:1-3, 3:5-8, 1 John 1:6-10, 5:10-13, 19-21). In Christ, you receive the forgiveness for sin, and the freedom from sin. You have a new fresh past, present and future: Christ's (2 Cor. 5:17, 21, Gal. 2:20).
Respond. Rejoice in your salvation! Pray and read your Bible every day and obey what it says. Join a local Bible believing church. Allow the Lord Jesus Christ to make the changes He desires in your life, and go tell others! (1 John 2:1-6, 3:1-3, Ephesians 4:17-24, 5:6-11, 18-21, 2 Cor. 5:17-21).