If you were to ask the average person on the street how to get to heaven, you would receive a large variety of answers. It is interesting that most people like to believe that that is where they are going when they pass from this life, but they do not know why they believe that or what the requirements are. Most people believe in some sort of afterlife, but it seems that very few give any serious thought to the issue of what is necessary to go to heaven. What would YOUR answer be if God asked you, "Why should I let you into heaven?"
Recently I read a book that, at the end, listed 25 responses from people who were asked that question by a person who had been a pastor nearly all of his life. In fact, that was the motivation and inspiration to write this article. I will not list all of those responses, but in summary, they could be in three categories: doing good works, being a good person, and being religious. Not one of the responses was the correct answer.
So, what is the requirement for entrance into heaven? Jesus told us in John 14:1-3 before He left this earth 2000 years ago that He was going to prepare a place of eternal existence. This place that people call heaven is described in Revelation 21 and 22. It is a place beyond anything imaginable in terms of eternal bliss, joy, happiness, and peace. Why would anyone not want to go there? There are some similarities to the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2. However, according to the Bible not everyone will be there.
Revelation 21:27 says a person's name must be in the "Book of Life." What is necessary for your name to be listed there?
1. You must realize that having a personal relationship with Jesus is the only way, not religion. Religion without relationship with Jesus is nothing more than a set of rules and attending religious activities in some building. That is why simply going to church does make a person a Christian. Read John 14:6 and Acts 4:12.
2. Realize that doing good works or being a good person will not get you into heaven. Read Ephesians 2:8-9.
3. You and I are sinners, saved by the grace of God. (Romans 5:8) Mankind has a sin nature with a tendency toward doing wrong things and being disobedient to God's ways. This should be evident from your birth. No one has to be trained to do wrong. Besides, how can one person say that he or she has done enough to be a good person or has been religious enough to get to heaven, and another person hasn't? That would be both arrogant and judgmental.
4. You must realize that Jesus died on the cross just for you. Confess Him as your Lord and Savior. He not only died an agonizing death but rose from the dead, physically and bodily, three days later. (Romans 10:9-10)
This is how you will be granted entrance to heaven.