How can we be sure we are saved and will go to heaven? There is so much false teaching in various denominations today, no wonder so many people are confused. There are far too many who believe they are going to heaven but have no clear basis for that belief, other than the fact that they consider themselves to be a “good” person. The Bible makes it very clear: the only thing that can save us is putting our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son. He paid the price for all sin. He was perfect, wholly without sin of His own, and He poured out His life in atonement for our sin, and not just ours, but all who have ever lived or will ever live.
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. For God sent not his Son into the world
to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:16-17)
Believers, those who have trusted Jesus Christ for their salvation, rather than their own deeds, are assured of salvation and eternal life. Unbelievers face judgment and condemnation, not
simply because of their deeds, but rather because they have not met the one and only criteria: they have rejected Jesus Christ's ultimate atonement for sin. Judgment is not
merely punishment for sin, it is JUSTICE for sin. Sin has to be paid for, or there is no justice.
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already,
because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18)
Many have the mistaken idea that if they live a “good” life, doing good and helping others, then God will look at their good deeds and allow them into heaven. They see it like a giant spiritual scale: if their good deeds outweigh their sins, they'll be alright. Nothing could be further from the truth, however. Our good deeds can never be good enough to get us into heaven.
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;
but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in
that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have
cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess
unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:21-23)
Many religions have a set of requirements, or laws, and if a person meets all their particular requirements, they can be assured of getting into heaven. Some have a remedy for any wrong-doing, the sinner can say a prescribed number of prayers, do the recommended acts of penance, and thus the slate is wiped clean. Again, the focus is on what they do:
keeping the laws, or meeting the requirements of the laws of their church. Again, our deeds can never get us into heaven. These religions often emphasize the writings and/or traditions of their church as the ultimate authority and instruction, even over the Holy Scriptures.
Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified
in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:20)
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his
own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.. (Rom. 8:3)
Others believe in a God so kind and loving that He will never send anyone to hell, regardless of their actions during their lifetime. This is a false view of God, going against all the Bible's teachings. They have created an idol, or false god, for themselves that they can feel very comfortable with: He requires nothing at all of them, but rewards them anyway.
Jehovah God Almighty is indeed a kind and loving God; kindness and love are a part of His character. But Scripture is very clear: God is also pure, and holy, and just, and
righteous, and He cannot ignore our sin. Sin has to be paid for, or there is no justice in Him. And we cannot pay for it ourselves, no matter how “good” we try to be. The
ONLY thing that can save us from the penalty sin demands is Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son, who was sent to earth for that very purpose.
All these false teachings are nothing new, in fact, false teachings abounded even in the earliest days of the church. By the 15th
century, the Roman Catholic Church held absolute power and was guilty of many false doctrines and practices that violated Biblical teachings – the granting of “indulgences” for certain sins,
for instance. In view of all these false
teachings, the German reformer Martin Luther searched Scripture and developed his now famous “95 Theses”, rejecting all these beliefs as unbiblical. His dissent with the Church
brought about a massive Reformation movement. The emphasis of the reformation was 4 core tenets: Sola fida, Sola Christus, Sola gratia, and Sola Scriptura. We are saved by
faith alone, in Christ alone, by grace alone, based on Scripture alone. Never by our own works, never by purchasing indulgences, never by keeping all the rules and laws of our religion.
Salvation is through Jesus Christ alone, by the grace of God.
Let's look at just a few of the Scriptures that these basic tenets of Reformer Theology are based on.
1. Sola Fida: Faith alone
For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to
2. Sola Christus: Christ alone
faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. (Rom. 1:17)
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace
with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: (Rom. 5:1)
But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God,
it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. (Gal. 3:11)
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold
3. Sola Gratia: Grace alone
the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29)
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name
under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:
4. Sola Scriptura: Scripture alone
it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Eph 2:8-9)
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he
saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which
he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by
his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:5-7)
And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace.
But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. (Rom. 11:6)
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matt. 4:4)
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword,
piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow,
and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Heb. 4:12
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine,
for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man
of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (Tim. 3:16-17)
Faith alone, in Christ alone, by grace alone, based on Scripture alone: that is the only way we can be saved, and assured of eternal life. There is no room for our own works, there is no authority other than the Holy Bible, and there
is no authority ever given to any church to provide indulgences for sins. In our day and time, just as in Martin Luther's, we need a return to "Sola" power!