How can I get to heaven?
Many ask this question. Learn how you can be certain of eternity in Heaven.
Dr Gary J Baxter Printed September, 2013
For more information about the points raised in this booklet, go to: adefenceofthebible.com Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission
Many people have commented that they have received comfort and security and even unbelievers have desired to know more, by reading the Summary chapter (seven) of my book; A Defence of the Bible, so I have decided to make it available as a booklet with a few alterations and additions.
All statements are referenced in the original book except for Bible references which are given here.
The Bible is true and can be trusted
In A Defence of the Bible, I showed that the Bible stands alone amongst other religious books as being intellectually credible. Let us start with a review of some of the major issues discussed before we proceed further.
In the beginning
There are only two possible explanations for the existence of the cosmos (the heavens). The Bible tells us that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The only alternative and one proposed by atheist cosmologists, is that in the beginning there was nothing, which sometime in the past exploded and this has become the foundational Big Bang Theory. However, measurements and observations from the Hubble telescope have shown there to be an inconsistency with the theory and the idea of a perfectly ordered universe being formed from an explosion is a clear violation of the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics. The First states that matter/energy cannot be created or destroyed and the Second Law maintains that for a closed system, order must go to disorder and this is what is observed. Also, they are faced with the dilemma that the whole of the cosmos is slowly winding down which invites the question; who originally wound it up?
Life on earth
Evolution by way of the chance formation of life through random molecular collisions is impossible, and even if some of the chemicals of life were formed, they would break down rather than build up to even bigger molecules. The field of genetics represents another huge problem for Darwinists as they require mechanisms for adding about three billion nucleotides (pieces of information) to a bacterium’s DNA (genes) to change it into a human, which is what evolutionists believe. They say that this happened via natural selection and mutations but these have been shown to have reduced genetic information and not to have increased it. They say that there have been billions of years for all of this to happen, but the whole process is heading in the wrong direction; left to themselves, organisms don’t increase in complexity and acquire more functions, they either stay the same or lose functions, e.g. blind cave-dwelling fish have lost their sight and flightless birds have lost their ability to fly.
There is, as well, an abundance of evidence that supports a young earth, including skin, soft tissue and red blood cells that have been shown by accelerated stability trials to decompose within a few thousand years, in ‘Jurassic’ period fossils that are claimed to be over 65 million years old.
Finally, there is an absence of fossils of ‘intermediate’ species, without which, Darwin said his theory would collapse. Also, there are many ‘living fossils’, which have not changed over their period of existence.
Design is clearly evident
Contrary to evolution, biblical creation is consistent with what is observed and measured now. We see design in every aspect of nature; from the automatic cascade of thirteen blood clotting factors combining to prevent continued bleeding, to a hive of bees working together for the common good, to the mind-boggling fact that one fertilised human egg cell has enough genetic information to instruct itself to form a complete human being with thousands of kilometers of blood vessels and 100 billion precisely-ordered brain cells, each with up to 10,000 connections. That makes an incomprehensible 1,000-trillion connections—each of them perfectly ordered. These give us the ability to plan, design, love and experience and exhibit our emotions in all their many forms.
One scientist has commented that in order to tell the difference between what mankind has made and what God has made, one only needs to examine it closely. As magnification increases, what man has made becomes less precise. But what God has made becomes ever more complex and intricate.
The Bible can withstand scientific scrutiny
When we examined the Bible under the microscope of modern science, we find that it can withstand this close scrutiny. Although written thousands of years ago, the Bible tells us that the heavens are being stretched out, the earth is round, and is suspended in space. There is strong evidence that at a previous time, the whole world was covered by water in a way that was consistent with Noah’s flood and that all representatives of the animal kingdom could have fitted in the ark. New born babies can have uncontrollable bleeding during their first seven days of life. God told Abraham to circumcise all boys on day eight. Archeological discoveries have overwhelmingly supported the people, places and events of the Bible.
We have seen that, when it comes to prophecy, theBible is one hundred percent accurate. At least 60 detailed and descriptive Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming Messiah were all completely fulfilled in the Person of Jesus of Nazareth. Some have claimed that since some of these prophecies were so accurate, they must have been written after the time of Christ, but the Dead Sea Scrolls which were written between 200 to100 BC showed this line of thinking to be wrong. As well, prophecies concerning the future of towns, cities and nations have come to pass, even in the minutest detail, and those that haven’t are still future to us.
The reliability of the Bible
All of this means that the Bible is indeed trustworthy in all areas where it can be tested, whether in the fields of astronomy, chemistry, physics, archeology, hydrology, medicine or prophecy. Consequently, we can safely conclude that it can be trusted in areas where it cannot be tested empirically, such as Adam and Eve’s rejection of God and the consequential inheritance of a sinful character of all humanity.
Sin is the problem
The Bible tells us that,… all have sinned and comeshort of the glory of God.
This being the case, the Bible is replete with the sin of even its most prominent characters. Abraham took his wife’s servant girl Hagar to have his child, even though God had told him that his wife Sarah would produce an heir for him. Jacob deceived his father into giving him the blessing instead of his elder brother Esau. God refused Moses entry into the Promised Land because he disobeyed God’s instructions by striking the rock instead of speaking to it. As well, he took God’s glory for himself. King David committed adultery and deception, and ordered the murder of a faithful soldier in an attempt to cover his crime. The disciple Peter denied Christ three times and the great apostle Paul was so distressed by his own sinful nature that he stated:
O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death?
This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptances, that Christ Jesus came into the world
to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
We can trust the Bible when it says that God is holy and His anger burns against sin, and that the penalty for sin is death, both physical and spiritual. Spiritual death is a separation from God. Adam and Eve died spiritually when they sinned and God cast them out from His presence. They were physically alive but spiritually dead. Similarly, those who reject Christ are spiritually dead and once they die physically, the separation from God is permanent. The eternal abode of unsaved people is Hell and ultimately the Lake of Fire, where they will endure everlasting torment.
God fixed the sin problem
We can trust the Bible when it says that God’s love is so great that He sent His only Son whom He loved, the Lord Jesus Christ, (God the Son) to pay the penalty for our sin and on our behalf through His sacrificial death on the cross. When He cried as He hung on the cross:
It is finished(paid in full)
His work was completed and no other payment for our sin is required, or in fact, can be made. In other words, Jesus took our penalty for sin upon Himself and suffered its accompanying punishment. In return for our sin, He will bestow His righteousness on all who believe which will make them alive spiritually and will enable them to enter into heaven.
As the Bible states:
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
That if you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord’
and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
When the Philippian jailer asked: Sirs, what must I do to be saved? Paul answered:
Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.
Please note. To believe in a biblical sense, means more than simply acknowledging Jesus, but rather, to be fully committed to Him; to be truly sorry for your sins and to repent, that is to turn away from them.
Therefore, all who accept His gift, through faith, will have eternal life with Him. At death the believer will pass directly into the presence of Jesus.Praise God!
Consider the words of Jesus
Jesus tells His disciples:
Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions (literally dwellings); if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.And where I go you know, and the way you know.
To His friend Martha:
I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.
To the believing repentant criminal on the cross:
Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.
Of all the leaders of the various religions who are worshipped, only one has been able to rise from the dead. Therefore, only He has the power to give eternal life to those who believe in Him.
Please consider the following:
- Confucius’ tomb occupied
- Buddha’s tomb occupied
- Muhammad’s tomb occupied
- Jesus’ tomb unoccupied
- A glimpse into Heaven
Luke records that as a young Jewish Rabbi, Saul (later taking the name of Paul) held the outer garments of those who were stoning the disciple Stephen to death. And that just before he died Stephen looked up and saw heaven open and Jesus standing to greet him.
Paul implies that he too, had a glimpse into heaven after he had his life-changing encounter with the risen Christ and saw things that he could not even describe and was not allowed to tell. He wrote also, that for the Christian, the grave has no sting and death has no victory. And the translocation from dead body to a soul in heaven is so rapid that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
What about you?
For those who do not know the Lord, Jesus will not go away; you cannot remain neutral.
He is calling you today—He wants none to perish—but to not accept Him is to reject Him:
He who is not with Me is against Me.
Then He will also say to those on the left hand, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
I urge you: do not let the sun go down without accepting Jesus as your Savior. Death, as we see on our television news services every night, can come quickly and without warning. It is only a heartbeat away. Then it will be too late.
You can accept Jesus right now with a simple, heart-felt prayer asking for Jesus to reign in your heart, confessing and repenting of your sins, and asking for forgiveness based on His completed work on the cross. The actual words are not so important; God sees what is in your heart.
Here is a sample of how you could pray:
Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Saviour. I pray this prayer in Your Holy Name. Amen.
The next steps:
Talk to a Christian friend or pastor, find a Bible study group and look around for a Bible-believing church that honors Jesus. Other Christians are now your brothers and sisters in Christ—get to know your family.