How Can We Know God Exists and If We’ll Go to Heaven?

A friend asked me for help in answering these questions, and my thoughts are below. The links are to verses from the Bible, which is God's Word that He gave to us to tell us about Himself and His relationship to us, and to explain how we can get to Heaven and His plan for our life.

We know God exists because we see His creation all around us (Psalm 19:1). When we see a fine watch, we know that someone had to design it because it is too complicated, beautiful, and high functioning for it to have "evolved" by accident from scrap metal. The same is true for the human body, the stars in the universe, and all the miracles of nature -- a Being of unlimited intelligence, power and good had to design and create these (Psalm 139:14).

God created people to want to be close to Him (Psalm 42:1-3), for His good pleasure (Revelation 4:11; Luke 12:32) and that is why we feel empty and sad when we are not at peace with Him. But God does not want to force Himself on us, so He made us with the ability to choose Him or to reject Him (Deuteronomy 30:19). The result of that is that we can also choose to sin, or disobey His laws, which results in evil.

There is no evil or darkness in God -- He is perfectly pure, holy, and just (1 John 1:5). Because of that, He must punish evil, just as a judge has to punish criminals (Psalm 94:20-23). God lives in Heaven, where there is no evil or darkness (Revelation 22:3) . Therefore, God cannot allow sinners into Heaven (Revelation 21:8), and we are all sinners (Psalm 14:3). God gave us a conscience so that we know when we do something wrong. All of us have told a "little white lie," taken something that doesn't belong to us, used God’s name as a curse word, and/or had sexual thoughts about someone we’re not married to.

So we have all broken the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17), and we are all sinners (Romans 3:23) who have broken God’s law (1 John 3:4). The punishment for sin is never-ending death in hell (Romans 6:23). So, if we were to die right now and be judged by God, He would find us guilty, and because He is fair and just, we would be condemned to hell because we are sinners.

But God found a way to make peace between sinners and Himself (John 3:16). He loves us so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to take the punishment that we all deserve (1 Peter 3:18). Jesus, Who is also God and perfectly pure and holy, came to earth in human form (John 1:14). He was like us in every way except that He could not sin (Hebrews 4:15). He willingly died an agonizing, humiliating death on the cross (Philippians 2:5-8) to pay the debt that we all owe because of our sin (Romans 5:8). He paid for all our sins, past, present and future (Hebrews 9:26-27). Then He rose again from the dead so that anyone who turns away from their sins and trusts Him will have all their sins forgiven (Acts 3:19; 1 John 1:9) and will live forever with Him in Heaven (Romans 6:23).

When God looks at a sinner who has trusted Jesus Christ, He no longer sees that person’s sins; instead, He sees the perfect holiness of His Son (2 Cor 5:18-21; Isa 53:4-6). That person is then at peace with God and will go to Heaven with Jesus when they die (John 14:1-3).

There is nothing we can do to earn our way to Heaven (Ephesians 2:8-9;Titus 3:5). No matter what good things we do, it never outweighs the fact that we are sinners and deserve to go to hell. If we were tried in court and found guilty of murder, it wouldn’t matter if we had been nice to people or had given away large amounts of money – the judge would still sentence us to life in prison or even the death penalty. When we die and face God, He’s not going to let us into Heaven because we were nice or generous or went to church. The only question He will ask is: “Do you know, love, and trust my Son?”

It doesn’t matter to God how many bad things we have done in the past or how terrible those things were, because He knows that each of us is guilty (Psalm 94:11). A criminal who was crucified next to Jesus went to Paradise with Jesus because in his last moments he realized he was a sinner and he trusted Jesus as Lord (Luke 23:39-43). That sinner died before he could do a single good deed or be baptized, yet he is in Heaven. Whoever realizes that they are a sinner who can’t get to Heaven on their own and believes that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died on the cross to pay for our sins, was buried, and rose again from the dead, and trusts in Him, will live forever with God in Heaven (Romans 10:13; Acts 16:31;John 5:24). Whoever has not trusted Christ in their heart has refused God’s way to Heaven, which is the only way to get there (John 14:6), and will spend forever being punished in hell (Revelation 20:15).

Please don’t put off trusting Christ, because we are not promised tomorrow (Proverbs 27:1), and if you die before you ask Christ to be your Lord and Savior, it will be too late. You can know for sure, right now, that you will spend forever in Heaven -- which is a wonderful, joyful, beautiful place beyond our wildest dreams (1 Corinthians 2:9) – by praying to God using words something like this:

Dear God, I know I am a sinner and I ask You to forgive me. I know that nothing I could ever do on my own would be enough for me to earn my way to Heaven. I am truly sorry for my sins and I ask your help not to sin any more. I believe in my heart that You sent Your only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross, to take the punishment my sins deserve. I believe that He rose again from the dead so that all who trust Him will live forever with Him and with You in Heaven. Thank you for forgiving my sins and for adopting me as your child, and help me live a life that will please You. Jesus, I trust you as my Lord and Savior.

Trusting Christ is the most important decision you will ever make, because it will change your eternal destiny from never-ending punishment in hell, which we all deserve because of our sins, to living forever in Heaven with God, His Son, and all our loved ones who trusted Christ. And, at the moment we are saved by trusting Jesus as our Savior, He gives us His Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13) makes us a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), gives us more abundant life (John 10:10), adopts us as His child (Romans 8:16-17), and appoints us as His ambassador (2 Corinthians 5:20). So don’t delay – accept this freely given gift of God’s grace today -- it is the one decision you will never regret!

Love in Christ,

Laurie Collett

© 2011 Laurie Collett
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