Locations & Times

How We Get to Heaven

by Leigh Ann Dilley on October 02, 2023

A young man I'm well acquainted with is about to become a father for the first time. He's excited but at the same time searching for a few things. We were having a lengthy conversation about many things; his job, world travels, world affairs, getting married, buying a home, and becoming a father. Quite suddenly, he asked the question, "Where does your hope come from?" Whoa, that felt like a wide-open door! I don't tend to push my faith onto people, but when such a question is asked, I consider it permission to speak directly about my faith. I responded, "My hope is in Christ as my Savior." He chuckled, shook his head, and explained he was really asking for parenting advice. I replied, "It's the same answer. If my relationship with God is intact, the rest tends to work itself out."

From there, he assured us he was a Christian. When I asked what that meant to him, he said: he was raised in church, baptized as an infant, and tries to be a good person. "But have you accepted Christ as your Savior," I asked. "Well...no," he responded. "How do yo think a person gets to heaven," I said. He repeated his previous answer about being a good person. From there, we discussed what the Bible says about these things as well as some personal stories of how Christ is evident in my life.

This young man's way of thinking seems to be more and more common. If we can earn our way to heaven by being a good person, why do we need Jesus?

A new survey by The Barna Institute for the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University found that roughly half (48%) of American adults believe they will go to heaven if they are "generally good" or "do enough good things," while one-third believe salvation is obtained only by confessing sin and accepting Jesus Christ as savior, according to a new survey. 

George Barna, director of research for the Cultural Research Center, said Americans are "in an 'anything goes' mindset when it comes to faith, morals, values, and lifestyle."

"Americans appear to be creating unique, highly customized worldviews based on feelings, experiences, and opportunities rather than working within the boundaries of a comprehensive, time-tested, consistent worldview," he said. "...By abandoning our moral standards and traditions and replacing them with inclusive and conditional preferences, we are losing the foundations that have enabled the 'American experiment' to succeed for more than two centuries," Barna added. "We can only hope that our critical moral institutions — particularly the family and churches — will wake up and help the nation to get back on track."

If you find yourself having a similar conversation with someone, here are the verses that may help you:

Jesus says in John 14:6, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Romans 10:9 says, "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and know in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."

What does the Bible say about being a good person?

For it was only through this wonderful grace that we believed in Him. Nothing we did could ever earn this salvation, for it was the gracious gift from God that brought us to Christ! So, no one will ever be able to boast, for salvation is never a reward for good works or for human striving.
— Ephesians 2:8-9 (TPT)

While Bible verses validate Christian beliefs, personal experiences with the living God are also important. Make the most of every opportunity to share your personal experiences with others.

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