The first four books of the New Testament tell the story of the birth, life and death of Jesus of Nazareth. Other than an incident when he was twelve years old, he lived what appeared to be a pretty normal life. At twelve, when he had been on a trip with his parents to Jerusalem, he disappeared. When they found him in the temple, they let him know how worried they had been. They didn’t understand what he meant when he said to them, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (You can read this story in the book of Luke, Chapter 2, verses 41-51. New International Version)
When Jesus said, “my Father’s house,” he was speaking of his Heavenly Father, God. On the day he came to the Jordan River to be to be baptized by John, about eighteen years had passed since that event in the temple. “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:13-17)
Jesus spent the next three years teaching about God and telling his followers that he and his Father were one. He said, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father.” To show that he was indeed who he said he was, he did many miracles. He turned water to wine, healed the sick and the blind, and even raised the dead. He taught people how to live and said the greatest commandment was to love God and one another. He developed such a large following, that the pompous religious leaders, not wanting to hear his teachings, refused to believe he was the Son of God. And although he never did one wrong thing, they set about to have him killed.
Because God is a just God, all sin must be punished and all men sin. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death…” In other words, what we have earned for our wrong- doing is death. Everyone knows we will all die; there is no escaping it. But here is the good news, this verse goes on to say, “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” How would you like to live eternally? Those that receive this gift will leave all sorrow, pain, sickness and problems behind them. We will have complete joy forever. Some people just don’t want to believe in Jesus and think they can just die, like going to sleep, and that will be it. Sadly, everyone will live eternally. If it is not in this glorious place called heaven, it will be in darkness and torment. Because we have all been given free will, our final destination will be our choice.
Jesus came and dwelt among men to tell us about the plan. No matter what wrongs we have done in our lives, our deepest and darkest secrets have to be punished. But for those who believe in Jesus, he took the punishment we deserve for us. He was put to death on a cross for the sins of the world. It was a horrific, cruel death. He didn’t have to, he chose to. One day there will be a judgment for everyone that has ever lived. We will stand before God for our sentencing and Jesus will be there as our advocate. We will stand before God as pure and completely sinless because Jesus already paid our price. And those of us that have followed him will enter into the Kingdom of God.
This good news we have been referring to is called the Gospel, the Gospel of Christ. God’s written word, the Bible, tells us about the plan of salvation. It is offered to anyone who wants to discover it. Jesus himself said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)
If you would like to learn more about the plan of salvation and specifically God’s wonderful plan for your life, continue on to the last article. The mission of this website, Joy of Hope, is not to lead you to one particular church or doctrine. We will just show you what the Bible says and you can uncover God’s plan for you on your own.
If you enjoy music, go to YouTube.com and type in: “Live Performance of Josh Turner, I Serve a Savior.” His song sums up our purpose in life and the theme of this article.
To learn more about what the Bible says about getting to heaven, please continue.