Will You Go to Heaven? Are You Sure?
How can I know for sure if I am destined for Heaven? I don't want to be destined for Hell.

MAC asks: I have been having doubts of my salvation. How can I know for sure I am truly saved? Thank you so much!! I started experiencing Religious OCD. I can't stop the bad thoughts I have about God sometimes. I repent every time it happens. How can I stop these bad thoughts about God?
Question about A Personal Question: I need help
Motivation - Fear, anxiety, worry: Depression
Bible view - The Word of God - [question 119, Wednesday, 29-Aug-2012]

scales, balance of good deed and bad deeds
Islam measures your good deeds against your bad deeds to determine entrance into heaven. The Bible has no such scales.

Ask most anyone and he or she will tell you what it takes to get to Heaven: you must live right. Islam uses scales to weigh right living against wrong living, and thus determines entrance into paradise, or not, upon death. The Qu'ran, the holy book of Islam, says:

Then those whose balance (of good deeds) is heavy,- they will attain salvation: But those whose balance is light, will be those who have lost their souls, in Hell will they abide [Surah 23:102ff]

The Bible has no such verse. Nowhere in the Bible will you find God weighing good deeds against bad deeds to determine entrance into Heaven. That is a human concept, not a biblical concept. God's ways are not our ways.

The Bible talks a lot about right living and wrong living, but usually in the context of life on earth, not in the context of life in Heaven or Hell. Continue to read this article to understand what the Bible says about:

  • Right living and wrong living
  • Right believing and wrong believing
  • Knowing your eternal destiny

Right Living and Wrong Living

What, exactly, distinguishes right living from wrong living, that is, what distinguishes good deeds from bad deeds? The Bible contains a masterful code of ethics, the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20), that separates the two. Obey the Ten Commandments and you are living right. Disobey the Ten Commandments and you are living wrong. It is not a difficult concept! The Decalogue has been tested by time and has proven trustworthy over a hundred generations. Jesus summarizes the Ten Commandments in these two simple statements:

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
- Matthew 22:37ff [KJV]

So living devoted to God and other people is right living, sometimes called holy living, while living in neglect of God and other people is wrong living, sometimes called sin. It is really very simple. Sinners do not go to Heaven.

There are the Bible-ordained consequences of right living and wrong living. Godly actions in line with the Ten Commandments bring blessings and happiness; sinful actions bring curses and sadness. Everyday life makes this abundantly clear. Have you lived long enough to understand that happiness comes from doing what is right, not what feels good? The Bible calls it the Law of Sowing and Reaping, exemplified by this verse from the book of Proverbs:

The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite, But the stomach of the wicked is in need.
- Proverbs 13:25 [NASB]

Time and time again we see this played out in real life. But not always. We can find plenty of people who do not love God and do not love their neighbors, and yet they seem to be doing fine. However, from our vantage point we cannot know for sure. From the outside a person may look wonderful, but inside that person may be full of anxiety, depression, shame, and sadness. It is a matter of faith, then, coupled with reason from personal experience, that shows us God's law of sowing and reaping at work in other people. But in our own lives we do not need faith. We know from experience: right living bring happiness and wrong living bring sorrow.

Perhaps you are young and have not grasped this simple truth. Wait. As you get older you will find that happiness comes from right living. If you reject this idea, the only real destination for you is separation from God and everyone else.

Right Believing and Wrong Believing

While God's law of sowing and reaping governs our daily lives, the Bible sets forth another law, the Gospel or Good News, that governs life after death. The Gospel is based on the unconditional love and favor of God, sometimes called the grace of God, and it goes deeper into our hearts than the law of sowing and reaping. Rather than looking at outward actions of right or wrong living, the Gospel looks inward to the motivation that guides our lives. Specifically, the Gospel says that faith, or belief, determines our eternal destination, not our actions.

The most famous Gospel verse, John 3:16, says:

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]

There is nothing in John 3:16 that talks about right living or wrong living, good deeds or bad deeds, or anything else. Everlasting life is available to those who believe in Jesus Christ. We know from other passages that saving belief is not a transitory, shallow thing. It is a belief so strong that it motivates us to repent, that is, stop sinful living. But belief comes first. It is the motivator that guides the life of a Christ-follower. Heaven and Hell depend on God's sacrifice on the Cross and God's gift of faith, both of which are available to every human being (Romans 5:6, Romans 12:3). Do you believe this is true? Does it motivate your actions? If so, the Gospel says you are saved and destined for Heaven.

Knowing Your Eternal Destiny

In simplest form, the Bible connects living to belief and then treats each separately, producing separate results.

Right Believing
Wrong Believing
Right Living
Happiness and Heaven
Happiness and Hell
Wrong Living
Sadness and Heaven
Sadness and Hell

Where do you fall in the chart above? The upper-right quadrant is the place to fall, happy and destined for Heaven. It comes by God's gracious stirring of your inward belief about the shed blood of Jesus Christ as the solution to your sin problem, to the point that you desire to live right. But how can you know for sure that you are in the upper-right quadrant? This is an important question. It is the question MAC asks. How can a person know whether or not he or she is saved and destined for Heaven?

In his excellent book Systematic Theology, Dr. Wayne Grudem encourages each of us to truthfully answer three probing questions. In doing so we can discover our standing in the throne room of Heaven.

Do I have present trust in Jesus Christ for salvation? What would happen if I died tonight? Would I ask God to consider my good deeds and depend on them to get me to Heaven? Or would I, without hesitation, say that I depend totally on the merits of Jesus Christ, His shed blood, to erase my sins and thus qualify me for Heaven?

For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
- Leviticus 17:11 [KJV]

This is real, present faith. It does not look back to some conversion experience or church ceremony. It is what I believe right now based on what the Bible says, not on what someone has told me. Active, vibrant faith in Jesus Christ is absolutely essential to salvation.

Is there present evidence that God is at work in my heart? Is there a sense of being led by the Holy Spirit in paths of obedience to God's will as revealed in the Bible? Is there true, heartfelt interest in the things of God? Do I want to study the Bible? Do I pray and talk to God on a continuing basis? Do I enjoy fellowship with other Christ-followers? Do words and songs of thanksgiving and praise come out of my mouth? Do I strive to know and understand sound and consistent Bible doctrines? Are the fruit of the Spirit growing in my life?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
- Galatians 5:22 [KJV]

True believers universally experience these things. They may not happen all together, but many of them usually develop quickly in the new believer. This evidence should be present in anyone who is destined for Heaven. If you find yourself struggling with such evidence, go back to the first question.

Do I see a long-term pattern of growth in my Christain life? The first two question deal with present faith and present evidence. In 2 Peter there is a list of godly characteristics that should be increasing in the life a true Christian. Peter says that if we do these things, we can 'make our calling and election sure.' Here they are:

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
- 2 Peter 1:5ff [KJV]

If you are new to Christianity, you need only answer the first two questions. If you have been around for years and years, the third question becomes paramount. Here is your check list. Which of these are 100 percent in your life? Which are still lacking?

  • faith (the starting point)
  • virtue, goodness, moral excellence
  • knowledge
  • temperance, self control
  • patience, perseverance, endurance
  • godliness
  • brotherly kindness, brotherly affection
  • charity, love

Answer the questions. They will guide you into a deeper walk with God, and the deeper you go, the more secure you feel.

by Paul Richards

Mon, 26-Jun-2017 03:43:38 GMT, unknown: 642310 AB5gYLKMtC/bQ