In terms of all of the questions that we may have concerning these somewhat complicated lives of ours, there is no greater question than “How do I get to heaven?” This question has been asked throughout the ages and people have come up with all sorts of answers.
For all of those who believe that heaven does or might exist, they have something ingrained in them that makes them want to know what their destination will be.
How Can We Get To Heaven?
Unfortunately, for everyone, there are so many different opinions that answer that question in various numbers of ways – depending on your religious beliefs or the religious systems in which you operate.
As for my answer here, the answer will be based on the evidence that is found in the Bible.
The Bible is quite clear that the path to heaven is through a belief, acceptance, and trust in Jesus Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection from the dead. The Bible instructs us to turn away (repent) from our sins and trust that Jesus took upon Himself all of our sins when he died on the cross. We are granted this salvation – a relationship with Him and eternity in Heaven with Him by grace. It is not a product of anyone’s good deeds or good works.
How To Get To Heaven – Choosing Your Foundation
We need to have it settled in our minds where we are going to spend our life after death. If someone believes in heaven, hell, or anywhere else one might think they would go, they need to first ask a simple question: What foundation or source are we using from which to get our answer?
We hear stories from time to time of people who have had near-death experiences. They tell us how they died, went to heaven or saw a light, saw Jesus, came back, etc., etc. There are many people who believe those people’s experiences were real and there are people who do not. There are others who believe that those people did have an experience but believe it was a dream or a vision they had under medication.
Personally, I find many of those stories fascinating. I certainly think many of those stories could have merit and we’re not here to criticize those. They might increase our faith in our belief in heaven. However, in terms of relying on those stories as the truth about heaven (or hell), that is not the best method of knowing or authenticating a pathway to heaven.
Unless we can have total assurance from people who have existed beyond the grave and come back with the road map to get there, then it seems that we need a more reliable source of information.
Theologians and Christian scholars have found tremendous historical accuracy within the small library of books that we call The Bible. Over a period of many decades, many of us have decided personally, that there is overwhelming evidence that the Bible is true. I believe it is the true and accurate word of God supernaturally preserved and passed on to us. So, as we answer this question at LivingPraying.com the Bible is our foundation for finding the truth about how to get to heaven.
How To Get To Heaven – The Bible, A Library of Books?
Just a quick aside here. When we refer to the Bible as a “library of books” or the “books found within the Bible” there is a reason for that. Many people think that the bible is just one book written by God for the entire world. And, yes, there is a general truth to that.
What we refer to as the Bible is actually a collection of 66 books written by approximately 35 people, over a period of several thousand years. However, even with that period of time, and considering those books were written in differing cultures and perspectives, those scriptures still point us in the same direction. They point to a Messiah, or Savior, who will bring salvation to His people.
So, it’s important to note that we are not depending on one book or one source when we ask how to get to heaven. We are depending upon the validity of one of the most researched sets of documents in the history of mankind.
How To Get To Heaven – The Fallacy of “All Roads Lead To Heaven”
The problem inherent with asking our primary question is that, although many people answer that question from a Biblical perspective, so many others will not.
For instance, ask a Christian in the Bible Belt of the U.S. how to get to heaven – the person who has been engaged for many years in a Biblical-based church that studies the scriptures regularly. That person will tell you one thing.
However, asking someone who has not been immersed in the teachings of the Bible will tend to give a more broadly focused answer that presents quite a different story.
There are those who tell us that whatever form of God you want to believe in is fine – as long as you are a good person and you don’t hurt others. They will tell you that there are many roads to heaven. You will be told that if it’s Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, or any of the other myriads of choices, each one is fine and can get you to heaven.
Those broad answers are commonly referred to as “inclusive” answers. For those people who want to remain popular, it’s so much easier to say that “whatever religion you choose is fine.”
Those answers might seem inclusive and make us feel good…but not if we have chosen to use the books contained in the Bible as our foundation. If we choose the scriptures found in the Bible as the foundational documents for our belief system, then we will not honestly be able to profess that “all roads lead to heaven.”
How To Get To Heaven – How Many Ways Are There?
Okay, in answering this, remember that we are using the books found in the Bible as our starting place – our foundation. If at any time we choose that our foundation is not good or reliable, then we begin to think about abandoning that foundation and finding a new one. Some people do that. However, when that happens it can make a person even more anxious or desperate to find out what the real truth is.
So, can God get your attention in many ways? Certainly. My pathway in life is probably not like your pathway. We are not cookie-cutter creatures with cookie-cutter lives. Therefore, we have various life experiences that can be remarkably different from one another. So, our path to finding the truth about Jesus Christ may be quite different. However, we must arrive at the same way to salvation – through Jesus Christ.
God may get your attention because your parents took you to church every week and taught you about seeking a relationship with God. Or, you may have not been a religious person at all but had a deep sense that there was something (or someone) out there who was greater than what you had personally experienced.
God may allow people to go down many paths of seeking and searching to ultimately bring them to Him. If that was what we’re talking about when we say “There are many roads to heaven” then it would be correct. But, unfortunately, that’s usually not the context of that statement. It usually means that any God, any religion, any set of beliefs – as long as you try to be good and sincere will get you there.
For those who believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ, He does not offer the option that all roads will get us to heaven.
So, let’s take a look at the deeply divisive, but foundational statement that was made by the man called Jesus of Nazareth.
How to Get To Heaven – The Way, The Truth, The Life
When Christians are involved in a debate about how to get to heaven they will generally land on this scripture passage that is extremely poignant. Jesus had just told his disciples that he would soon be betrayed and would have to leave them. He said that they couldn’t go with Him at that point, but could follow Him later (John Chapter 13).
Obviously, this was quite a stressful statement to the disciples and Jesus responded by saying:
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.”John 14:1-4
So, one of the His disciples named Thomas asked made an important observation followed up by an extremely important question:
“No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?”John 14:5
Wow, doesn’t that look a bit like what we are asking? Doesn’t that look like someone who genuinely wants to know what lies ahead? What pathway will give us a most incredible future? The pathway to the joys of Heaven? I am so glad that Thomas asked the question because it gives us the centerpiece of our answer to how we get to heaven.
Jesus then gave the answer to Thomas’ question which has been controversial for so many who have other belief systems.
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”John 14:6-7
So, here we find a statement in the very words of Jesus Christ where He claims that there is only one way to heaven. If we truly believe the words of Jesus, of the Bible, then shouldn’t that settle it?
I think so. However, the scriptures have much more to say about it.
Take a look at another brief passage found in the book of John.
“And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.”John 17:3
The Old Testament Speaks To The Topic
Those are some great passages about the pathway to God found in what is called the New Testament (or New Covenant) in the Bible. So, how about in the Old Testament which was written hundreds or thousands of years earlier? Let’s take a look.
Here is what God had to say in the Book of Isaiah:
“I am the Lord, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the Lord, and there is no other.”Isaiah 45:5-6
Many people, even if they aren’t very religious, will refer to the ten commandments in the Bible in a positive light. So, let’s back up all the way to where God gave those ten commandments to Moses and the Israelites.
Do you remember the very first commandment that was given to Moses? You may find that it agrees with Jesus hundreds of years later. Take a look at the first commandment.
“And God spoke all these words, saying, ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.”Exodus 20:1-3
So, the Ten Commandments were a part of the Mosaic law that God gave to the children of Israel in the Old Testament. The law wasn’t intended to be a bar of soap to permanently wash away sins because no one could keep it perfectly.
God instituted a temporary sacrificial system for the Israelites that pointed to the time when the Messiah, the son of God – Jesus, would fulfill all of those laws and be the final sacrifice for our sins.
I mention that in order to point to another verse that is contained in the Law of Moses. This doesn’t look like God was playing around with the “One True God” concept, does it?
“Pay attention to all that I have said to you, and make no mention of the names of other gods, nor let it be heard on your lips.”Exodus 23:13
God the Father was so intent on keeping the minds and hearts of the Israelites focused on the truth that He didn’t even want the names of other gods spoken during those times!
How To Go To Heaven – Can You Believe The Bible AND Other Gods?
Now we have arrived at one of the primary reasons why Bible-believing Christians are attacked or criticized for their faith. This is the reason that strong Christians are called stubborn, narrow-minded, or bigoted.
In reality, IF you believe the Bible and that it is the word of God given to mankind, then you can’t be consistent and honestly agree that there are other Gods and other pathways to heaven. Doing so will demonstrate that you actually don’t believe the entirety of the Bible – only parts of it.
That is why we find people cherry-picking the parts of the Bible they want to agree with and putting aside other parts. You can’t say that Jesus was a great teacher if He falsely taught that He was the only way to heaven. That would have made Him a liar and not worth listening to.
One common teaching is that Jesus was either truly the Lord or he was a liar, or he was simply a lunatic. It’s a fascinating and common-sense teaching that we encourage you to check out at some point. I believe He was not a liar or lunatic. He is simply the Lord of all creation!
Finding Your Way to Heaven – If The Bible WAS NOT Truly God’s Word
If you come to the conclusion that the Bible is truly God’s word, then you can discover the precious knowledge of how to get to heaven. As we saw, Jesus spoke and made it clear. He is the way.
However, there are many who believe that the Bible contains some facts, and some fiction mixed in with some historical figures and locations that have been identified by modern archaeologists. If that were the case, how could we use the Bible as a reliable source in learning how to get to heaven?
That’s just the problem. We couldn’t.
Finding Our Way To Heaven – If The Bible IS Truly God’s Word
If you have truly examined the claims of the word of God and have seen evidence that the Bible is true and accurate, then you can take the steps involved to know that you are going to heaven when you leave this earth.
Let’s close up this article by looking at a few passages.
The Pathway to Heaven – The Bible Gives The Clear Answer
So, let’s take a look at some very important scriptures that point the way to a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, a relationship that will lead you to heaven. Keep in mind that there are many phrases used in Christianity to describe the experience of becoming a Christian.
Some of those are “being saved,” “becoming a Christian,” “accepting Jesus as Savior,” “being born again,” (Jesus used that term), “giving your life to Christ,” and quite a few others.
This process of being born again is as simple as giving your life to Jesus, admitting to God that you have sinned, repenting (or turning away from) your sinful ways, and accepting his forgiveness through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
Some may say, “Well I’m not a big sinner.” Okay, you may not have committed the physical acts of murder, adultery, or some of the bigger sins we might think of. However, what have your thoughts been? Have you lied? Have you ever cheated anyone? Have you ever coveted or lusted? You see, the Bible says:
“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.”Romans 3:23
However, even if we could somehow possibly live a sinless life, which we can’t – we would still be considered a sinner in God’s eyes because of mankind’s failure to be obedient to Him. We all have sinned in some way and inherited a sinful nature due to the fall of man in the Garden of Eden.
“For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.“Romans 5:17
The sin of man and the fall of mankind that began in the Garden of Eden is inherited and passed down to us. However, the glorious, wonderful truth of the Gospel (The Good News) of Jesus Christ is our pathway to forgiveness of sin, a life of purpose on earth, and ultimately eternity in heaven.
Here is one of the most famous scriptures in all of Christianity.
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16 NLT
When I memorized this verse as a child I did so in the King James version of the Bible, so many people are more familiar with this version. It’s true either way:
“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.John 3:16 (KJV)
John 3:16 is one of the most memorized Bible verses in the world. It states the general requirement to have a relationship with God and spend eternity in heaven. Just keep in mind that the phrase “believes in him” doesn’t simply mean “belief about him.” It means believing to the point of knowing that you need God and are trusting in God’s Son, Jesus, repenting and surrendering your life to Him as your only way to heaven.
To actually know how good the Gospel of Jesus Christ is, you have to know the bad news first. Here are a couple of verses that the Apostle, Paul, wrote to the early church in Rome:
“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.”Romans 3:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 3:23
Here we see the result of mankind’s sinfulness – death. Certainly, there is physical death. However, this verse includes eternal death in a place called Hell separated from God. That, in itself, is incredibly bad news – but it doesn’t have to end that way for us!
WOW, here comes the good news, that Paul had already shared earlier in the book of Romans.
“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”Romans 5:8
That is wonderful news! Let’s continue on in Paul’s letter to the Romans, which is one of the most famous books in the Bible.
“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.”Romans 5:8
This scripture doesn’t mean that you pray to God, believe in Him, then immediately run and tell somebody verbally before you are saved. That is, however, a great thing to do! But Paul worded it this way because, at that time, it needed to be said for those early Christians. At that time someone who professed Christ needed to realize that there was a good chance they could be extremely persecuted or killed.
So, should you be willing to tell others that you are a Christian? Certainly. However, that isn’t what initially makes you a Christian.
Let’s jump ahead to verse 13 of this same chapter in Romans.
“for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”Romans 10:13
If you truly turn from your own ways and give your life to Him, He will not turn you away!
There are so many other scripture passages in the Bible that will reveal to you how to become a Christian – how to be born again – saved.
So, let’s boil it down to this.
Admit That You Have Sinned and Need God
Just tell Him that you have failed to live up to His standards and will never be able to do that. Yes, He is a loving God, but He also is perfection and His righteousness can only be satisfied by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ. When you accept that sacrifice, it opens you up to the incredible grace of God found in Jesus.
Believe That Jesus Was Crucified, Died, and Rose From The Grave For You
God wants you to accept that the only way to have your sins paid for is through Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Sincerely believe that and put your trust in God that He truly sent His son, Jesus for you. Have faith that Jesus has literally paid for all of your sins.
Ask Jesus To Forgive You of Your Sins and Give Him Control Of Your Life
With all of your heart, as sincere as you can, simply ask Him to forgive you of your sins and to let His Holy Spirit come into your life to give you guidance from now on. Jesus is delighted to do that and He is waiting for you to make that decision.
What If I Don’t Say the Right Words?
Because of the human inability to explain things correctly, sometimes people will want to trust in Jesus as their Savior but they are afraid they will, or did, say the wrong words when asking him to save them.
Don’t worry so much about the specifics of the words. God is more concerned about the attitude of your heart. Some people may give their lives to God by saying “God save me,” if in fact, in their heart they were genuinely repenting and giving their life to Him in that prayer. So, don’t get hung up on worrying about an exact prayer. We did include an example prayer above that might be helpful
However, you may word your prayer of salvation in various ways. It’s not about saying the perfect words. It’s about what you mean in your heart.
Bottom line – we all are born into sin and God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to live a sinless, perfect life. He took on all of our sins on the cross and rose from the grave defeating Satan and making a way for us to go to heaven.
He makes us one of His own and we are secure in Him. If you are truly born again, you are not going to “fall from grace.”
“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me,”John 10:28
Plus, we not only get to go to heaven but we get the amazing privilege of having a relationship with Jesus here on this earth because when we accept Jesus the Holy Spirit comes into our life to guide us.
It’s my hope that you have accepted what Jesus has done for you! If not, it is my prayer that you will. Please don’t put it off. I encourage you to give your life to Jesus Christ and then KNOW that heaven will be your future home!