Heaven Can Be Yours!
Dr. R. A. Torrey told of talking with a young society lady at New Haven, Connecticut, when suddenly she interrupted him to say, “Don’t talk that way; it makes me think and I hate to think.” This sin-weary world is filled with people who hate to think, somehow supposing that by thus ignoring the issue of salvation everything will eventually turn out all right for eternity. Nothing could be farther from the truth and I earnestly urge you to think seriously with me for a few moments about missing Hell and gaining Heaven.
Everyone wants to go to Heaven! No one in his right mind desires an eternal home in Hell’s house of horrors. The only man in my entire ministry—he was in the Livingston, Illinois, county jail at the time—who told me that he definitely wanted to go to Hell was judged insane and taken to a state hospital three days later. I know I am expressing your choice when I say you desire to reach Heaven eventually.
Yet, as the Negro slaves sang while chopping their Alabama cotton, “Heab’n, Heab’n, ev’ry body talk about Heab’n ain’t goin’ there, Heab’n, Heab’n.” Jesus Christ Himself is the authority for teaching that more people will miss Heaven and end up in Hell than will make Heaven. He said in Matthew 7:13, 14:
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Since this is a subject of utmost seriousness—the most important one you will ever consider—it is vital that we start at the root of the matter and note first,
I. SIN, the Bar to Heaven!
Some might question, “Why doesn’t God just let everyone into Heaven when they die and be done with it? What keeps anyone out of Heaven?” The answer is sin!
Consider how plainly the Bible declares that sin shuts Heaven’s doors to every guilty sinner. After God gives that glorious picture of Heaven in the 21st chapter of Revelation, describing the gates of pearl, the streets of pure gold like transparent glass and the walls of jasper, He warns:
And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life. —Revelation 21:27
Notice the expression, “in no wise!” God will permit no sin or sinner in Heaven under any circumstance whatsoever. In the next chapter, the last in the Bible, after again describing some of the glories of Heaven, He declares:
For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and make a lie. —Revelation 22:15.
Again we have the strong insistence of the Almighty that every sinner must remain “without” Heaven. That lovely, unspoiled, unspotted city will not be tarnished or polluted with the single sin of a single sinner. So, in order to protect His Paradise and keep it pure, every sinner must be denied access to it.
If God allowed a sinner to enter Heaven, that sinner would sin. A Hitler or a Saddam Hussein would not be in Heaven long before he started a revolution. Confidence men would soon be trying to sell some prospective sucker a golden street. Liars would unceasingly be endeavoring to deceive the redeemed, the angels, and even God Himself. The adulterers would attempt to satisfy their passions if only through the thoughts of their hearts (Matt. 5:27, 28). In Revelation 22:11 God explains this truth about sinners continuing to sin forever, saying, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still.” Therefore, if one sinner entered Heaven he would soon spoil it by his transgressions. Heaven must be kept “off limits: for unredeemed sinners.
In I Corinthians 6:9, 10, the Word of God declares:
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
The same truth is stated in Ephesians 5:5, 6:
For as ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
Another strong emphasis of this truth is found in Galatians 5:19-21 where we read:
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Sin, A Universal Fact
Perhaps you are one of the many who seek to still the pricking of your conscience by telling yourself that you have never killed, never committed adultery, never robbed a bank, never defrauded a neighbor, or committed any of the so-called “baser sins.” Then let me remind you that God classes hatred with murder, envy with adultery, strife with drunkenness, and anger with witchcraft in the above scriptural condemnation.
He has further stated,
…for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. —Romans 3:22, 23
No difference! No difference between the society queen and the scarlet woman! No difference between the president and the pauper! No difference between the community leader and the common thief! If you are a moral, self-righteous woman who has never trusted Christ, you are on the same level before God with the worst fallen woman of sin who plies her trade on ignorant, foolish men. If you are a man without Christ, no matter how highly esteemed in your community or respected by your associates, you are on the same level before God with the worst drunkard and dope addict who ever staggered into a rescue mission begging for free soup and a place to sleep. No difference!
There may be differences in the degree of sin and the amount of sin, but in the fact that both are guilty sinners whom God is forced to shut out of Heaven, there is no difference!
How abundant are the scriptural statements that all stand guilty before God as sinners deserving a just condemnation in an eternal Hell of torment!
For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not. —Ecclesiastes 7:20
God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. EVERY ONE of them is gone back: they are ALTOGETHER become filthy; there is NONE that doeth good, no, NOT ONE. —Psalm 53:2, 3
How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water? —Job 15:16
ALL we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned EVERY ONE to his own way… —Isaiah 53:6
As it is written, there is NONE righteous, no, NOT ONE: There is NONE that understandeth, there is NONE that seeketh after God. They are ALL gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is NONE that doeth good, no, NOT ONE.—Romans 3:10-12
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us…If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. —I John 1:8, 10
Some have sinned more than the average, some have sinned less, but everyone has sinned and thereby “become guilty before God” (Rom. 3:19). To deny it is to deceive yourself and in addition commit the terrible crime of calling God a liar! It was Christ Himself who said, “there is none good but one, that is, God” (Matt. 19:17). God’s conclusion is that you and I are both sinners and that our sins have shut the door of Heaven to us.
Sin Must Be Paid for by Someone!
Sin must be settled. There must be a penalty for disobedience. Some suggest that God merely pardons sin without any payment, any settling or making right. Others tell us that since God is love He will never send any of His creatures to an eternal Hell of unending torment.
But human reason unites with Divine revelation in decrying such foolish philosophy. Can you imagine what your city would be like if there were no penalty for the broken law? Suppose there were no policemen, no jails, no sentence or penalty executed against the rapist, the thief, the murderer, the seditionist, and the criminals of various descriptions! What would a state be like with no penalty for the breaker of its laws? What would a nation be like in such circumstances? What would the world be like in such a hopeless condition?
All reason cries that sin must be punished and that law-breakers must be separated from the innocent so they cannot ply their evil upon them. It is exactly the same with God and His Laws! The Scriptures rightly insist, “the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezek. 18:4, 20). It is not unjust for Him to declare that “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). The eternal principle ever must remain:
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. —Galatians 6:7
It would not be right or possible for sinners to sin and remain unpunished.
From the many Scriptures thus far considered we have seen the following positive Bible conclusions:
1. All sin and every sinner must be barred from Heaven;
2. Every person on earth is a sinner guilty before God;
3. Therefore the door of Heaven must be shut to every single individual, with no exceptions, unless his sin is completely and entirely removed.
But, thank God, all is not hopeless! The same Word of God gloriously, joyfully announces to all the world the blessed truth,
II. CHRIST, the Way to Heaven!
In the 14th chapter of John, the Savior told His disciples about the wonderful Heaven He was going to prepare. When Thomas asked that all important question everyone desires to have answered, “How can we know the way?” the Lord replied:
I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. —John 14:6
Notice that Christ is the way to Heaven and the only way! No individual can ever go to the Father or the Father’s house of many mansions except by Jesus Christ! Paul’s epistle to the church at Colosse describes it—“…Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). No one can have a sure hope of Heaven without Christ in his heart!
Christ’s Death Opened Heaven to Guilty Sinners
How could Christ open Heaven’s barred doors for wicked sinners? By paying personally the penalty of their sins! This He did at the cross of Calvary, making it possible for God to remain just and yet justify the ungodly who receive Christ as their Savior (Rom. 3:26).
Isaiah looked down through the centuries to God’s sacrifice at Calvary and wrote by inspiration of the Holy Spirit:
Surely he hath borne OUR griefs, and carried OUR sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for OUR transgressions, he was bruised for OUR iniquities: the chastisement of OUR peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed…and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. —Isaiah 53:4-6
Scores of other Scriptures unite in telling the glorious gospel story of a Savior who offered Himself a sacrifice for sinners and paid the penalty of the condemnation they justly deserved. The Bible says:
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. —I Peter 2:24
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world. —John 1:29
And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. —I John 3:5
For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit. —I Peter 3:18
In whom we have redemption THROUGH HIS BLOOD, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace. —Ephesians 1:7
Oh, dear reader, thank God again and again that His lovely Son left the glories of Heaven, coming to earth and taking upon Himself the outward form of a servant (Phil. 2:7), that He might “give his life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). The Bible expresses:
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. —Philippians 2:8
Sin had placed an uncrossable chasm between man and Heaven, but Jesus Christ bridged that gulf with His cross. Sin had built a wall between God and man so tremendous that, in the words of the old Negro spiritual,
My Lord, it’s so high, Can’t get over it;
So wide, Can’t go around it;
So low, Can’t crawl under it.
But the Son of God used His cross as a spiritual battering ram to blast a hole through that wall big enough to let the vilest sinner through. Now all who will come by the way of the cross and its Christ can enter into fellowship with God.
Calvary’s Sacrifice Sufficient for Any, All!
Now none has an excuse for missing Heaven and entering Hell since any and all can be saved forever by trusting Christ. The meanest man, the wickedest woman, the most defiled youth, all can find forgiveness and salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. The standing offer of God is: “him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out (John 6:37), and, “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13).
Anyone can be saved and gain Heaven who wants to be saved! Earlier we reminded you of God’s vow that no fornicator, idolater, adulterer, thief, drunkard, or sinner of any kind (I Cor. 6:9, 10) will enter Heaven. But in the very next verse He declared:
And such were some of you: but ye are WASHED, but ye are SANCTIFIED, but ye are JUSTIFIED in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. —I Cor. 6:11
Yes, sinners of every description—guilty of every conceivable sin—can find pardon and forgiveness in the Lord Jesus Christ. I do not know you or what sins you have committed, but on the authority of the infallible Word of God I positively guarantee that you can be forgiven and saved by trusting Christ!
The poet was right when he cried:
The blood that purchased our release
And purged our crimson stains;
We challenge earth and Hell to show
One sin it cannot cleanse!
The Word of God expresses it, “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from ALL sin” (I John 1:7).
John Newton, the man who wrote one of the sweetest songs of all time, “Amazing grace! how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me!” had been guilty of every sin known to mankind in his days as a drunken rum runner and slave trader in the South Sea Islands. Yet his own epitaph, hung over a century ago on the north wall of the Woolnoth Chapel, is:
JOHN NEWTON, CLERK,
Once an infidel and libertine,
A servant of salves in Africa,
Was, by the rich mercy of our
Lord and Saviour
Preserved, restored, pardoned, and
Appointed to preach the Faith he
Had long laboured to destroy.
He will do the same for you that He did for John Newton and countless thousands of other guilty, Hell-deserving sinners down through the ages. Sin is the bar to Heaven but the atoning death of Christ opens the way to Heaven for all who want it.
Do you ask how this salvation offered by Christ can be yours? Then follow the Scriptures carefully as they unfold,
III. FAITH, the Key to Heaven!
Here is the strange thing exceedingly difficult for the natural mind to understand: salvation is by faith alone, completely apart from any human merit! The average person supposes that Heaven is gained by good deeds, works of righteousness, religious acts, exceptional morality, or other forms of righteous achievement. But the Bible is crystal clear that such is not the case and that it is absolutely impossible to earn or merit Heaven.
Ephesians 2:8, 9 tells us:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that NOT OF YOURSELVES: it is the gift of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.
And Titus 3:5-7 reminds those already saved of how it happened:
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.
Augustus M. Toplady was right when he wrote in his beloved hymn, “Rock of Ages,”
Not the labors of my hands
Can fulfill Thy laws demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.Bible Way Is the Faith Way
Throughout the entire Word of God the only plan of salvation taught is that sin is forgiven and eternal life received only by faith. Over and over God guarantees a home in Heaven to all who will believe in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Consider just a few of the plain statements:
To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever BELIEVETH IN HIM shall receive remission of sins. —Acts 10:43
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by THE FAITH OF JESUS CHRIST, even we have BELIEVED IN JESUS CHRIST, that we might be justified by THE FAITH OF CHRIST, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. —Galatians 2:16
…Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. —Acts 16:30, 31
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. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is BY FAITH OF JESUS CHRIST unto all and upon all them that BELIEVE…Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation THROUGH FAITH IN HIS BLOOD, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which BELIEVETH IN JUESUS…Therefore we conclude that a man is JUSTIFIED BY FAITH without the deeds of the law.. —Romans 3:20-22, 24-26, 28
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever BELIEVETH IN HIM should not perish, but have eternal life. 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. 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 3:14-18
He that BELIEVETH ON THE SON hath everlasting life: and he that BELIEVETH NOT the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. —John 3:36
Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him ALL THAT BELIEVE are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. —Acts 13:38, 39
Don’t you see, dear reader, that salvation is merely a matter of accepting what God has provided through the finished work of His Son at Calvary? A home in Heaven will be yours the moment you will trust Him to forgive your sins and take you to Heaven. Can you trust Him? Can you risk Him, who cannot lie (Titus 1:2), to do what He said He would do for all who receive Christ as their personal Savior? It is simply a matter of taking God at His Word.
The great reformer, Martin Luther, was asked on one occasion if he felt his sins had been forgiven. That mighty man of faith replied, “No, I do not feel they are forgiven, but I know that they are because God says so in His Word!” That’s it exactly! God has promised salvation to all who will receive His Son as their personal Savior. Now, if you will receive Christ, salvation and Heaven will be yours according to the very Word of God! He died to make your salvation possible; will you let Him save you?
God Is Helpless to Save Those Who Reject Christ
Before I close this message I must warn you that the finished work of Christ at Calvary is absolutely worthless and meaningless for the individual who refuses to receive Him. God reminds us in Hebrews 10:26, 27:
For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more [lit. “no other”] sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
There is no other way of salvation for the individual who scorns the sacrifice Christ made at Calvary through His death, burial and resurrection.
One of the strangest cases in the annals of American legal history centered around a young man named George Wilson. For crimes committed on December 6, 1829, Wilson and a companion, James Porter (alias James May), were charged with six indictments in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, all dealing with obstructing or robbing the mail, two of which were for “putting the life of the carrier,” Samuel M’Crea, “in jeopardy.” Found guilty, both men were sentenced “to suffer death on the 2nd July following.”
Porter was executed on schedule, but because of a “numerous and respectable body of petitioners” pleading with him for Wilson’s life, President Andrew Jackson issued a formal pardon, signed on his behalf by Secretary of State Martin Van Vuren, in which he said he “had pardoned, and do hereby pardon the said George Wilson the crime for which he has been sentenced to suffer death, remitting the penalty aforesaid.”
Then came the blockbuster: Wilson refused the pardon!
The finest minds in the field of legal jurisprudence were called in for consultation as to what to do and eventually the problem reached the Supreme Court. In a unanimous decision, that top legal body ruled a pardon to be unqualifiedly ineffective until accepted by the party involved. John Marshall, one of America’s ablest lawyers and the fourth Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, wrote in the decision:
A pardon is an act of grace, proceeding from the power entrusted with the execution of the laws, which exempts the individual, on whom it is bestowed, from the punishment the law inflicts for a crime he has committed….
A pardon is a deed, to the validity of which delivery is essential; and delivery is not completed without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered; and if it be rejected, we have discovered no power in a court to force it on him.
It may be supposed that no being condemned to death would reject a pardon, but the rule must be the same in capital cases and in misdemeanors.
The same is true spiritually! You are a sinner under the sentence of sin, condemned to an eternal Hell. It is hardly to be supposed that you, in your right mind, would reject the pardon of God’s love which His Son Jesus Christ provided at Calvary. But if you do, it is no pardon and the atonement is worse than worthless in your case—you must pay the penalty of your own sin in Hell forever!
Don’t Refuse God’s Pardon; Trust Christ Now
Yes, Heaven can be yours! But you had better settle the matter right now before it is too late. Multifold are the warnings in the Word of God against putting off salvation. For example, He tells us:
Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. —Proverbs 27:1
He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. —Proverbs 29:1
Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, TODAY if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts…)…—Hebrews 3:7,8
Behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation. —II Corinthians 6:2
Decision for Christ
If you want to make sure of Heaven and will receive Jesus Christ as your own personal Savior today, please indicate it by signing the following decision form. Then, as soon as possible, let others know of the stand you have taken.
NOTE: THIS FORM MAY NOT WORK ON YOUR COMPUTER–IF NOT , PLEASE COPY AND EMAIL IT TO DR. SUMNER AT THE FOLLOWING: email@example.com IF YOU PREFER JUST REWRITE THE INFO AND PUT YOUR THOUGHTS AND TESTIMONY IN YOUR OWN WORDS. GOD BLESS YOU.
If you will fill out the information above and submit the form, I will write you a letter of counsel and encouragement. Now that you have honestly received Christ into your heart you should be baptized and unite with a Bible-believing church. –Dr. Robert L. Sumner
© Biblical Evangelism 1956
All Rights Reserved