An interesting graph appeared in the October 24, 1997, issue of USA Today, entitled, “If I Were a Rich Man.” According to this report the wealthiest 1% of families in the United States have a minimum income of $250,000. The graph showed this group’s “wish list” and what each item was worth to them. At the top of the list, these people who “have everything” chose “a place in heaven.” On average, they were willing to pay $640,000 to have this. Evidently, having everything does not satisfy our spiritual needs. Despite society’s facade of materialism and apparent indifference about God and eternity, this survey is a frank unfolding of what is of greatest value: being assured of an eternal home in Heaven.
WOULD YOU AGREE?
What will be your top priority when you come to the inevitable last moments of life? What could be more important than knowing whether you will be in Heaven or Hell. Wouldn’t you agree that your greatest need is to be assured of a place in Heaven?
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
God has told us in His Word, the Bible, that sin bars a person from His holy presence. Of heaven, God says, “There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie” (Rev 21:27). Although current thinking tolerates disobedience, lying, cheating, immorality, drunkenness and even violence, God still calls these sin. His standards do not change. As a result, we must obtain forgiveness.
CAN I KNOW I AM FORGIVEN?
What can a person do to remove his guilt before God? What does God tell us? We are helpless to remove our sins. We can be forgiven only through personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. By dying for sins, He has paid the price required to take sinners to heaven. Listen to the words of Peter, Paul and John: “Who His own sell bare our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24). “The blood (meaning all connected with His sacrificial death) of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). “Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this Man [the Lord Jesus] is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins” (Acts 13:38, 39).
HOW CAN I BE SURE?
Peter preached, “Whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43). John wrote, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). To believe is to recognize your personal need of forgiveness and to acknowledge that the death of Christ alone meets that need. You receive assurance by believing God’s Word: he that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life” (John 3:36).
WHAT CAN I PAY?
Nothing! Forgiveness and the assurance of a place in Heaven are possible because Another has paid the required price. That price cannot be measured. Even the $640,000 suggested by those surveyed by USA Today is valueless. What we attempt to pay cannot secure a place in heaven – no matter how great the sum, how good our works, how upright our life or how sincere our intentions. Christ alone is God’s answer to our need. God raised Him from the dead on the third day showing to the world the value of the work of Christ to put away sin. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).