What literally, step by step, must a person do to become saved in order to go to heaven when they die?
A jailer once asked the apostle Paul what he had to do to be saved or go to heaven.
Sirs, what must I do to be saved? (NASB) Acts 16:30
Those Who Believe In Christ Go To heaven
Here is the answer the apostle Paul gave the jailer,
Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household. (NASB) Acts 16:31
That is all! All that you must do to go to heaven after you die is to believe in Christ.
What Does It Mean To Believe In Christ?
Notice that the apostle did not say he had to do prayer beads. The jailer did not need to give his money away. He did not need to suffer for a while before going to heaven. All that he needed to do to go to heaven when he died was to believe that God would forgive his sins.
To believe in Christ means:
Believe Jesus was and is God – In John 8:24 and 58, Jesus said that we will die in our sins if you do not believe He is God.
Believe Christ Died For Your Sins. – 1 Corinthians 15:3 teaches that Christ died for our sins on the cross and as a result He can forgive our sins. When Christ died on the cross, He suffered in our place. In Matthew 19:17 Jesus told a rich ruler that only God is good. That means none of us are good. Therefore, if you think you are a good person, then you do not understand that God has a different view.
Believe Christ Returned To Life – 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 and Romans 10:9 teach that Jesus was resurrected. These first three truths are what a person will believe if they are going to go to heaven. Romans 1:4 says that Christ’s resurrection proves He is God.
Realize That You Commit Sins – Next, Romans 3:23 says that everyone sins. That means God considers you a sinner. That is, you do not do good just as Jesus said.
Repent of Your Sins – Luke 13:3, 5 reveals that unless we repent, we will perish or go to hell.
Believe in Christ – Romans 10:9 says that we must believe Christ returned to life. That implies He also died. Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches that we are saved by God’s grace and not because of anything that we have done. In fact, we cannot do any good thing. Only God is good. Therefore, our sins are forgiven when we believe that Christ did everything for us. A righteous and holy God died for our sins and returned to life to prove that He is God and He was victorious in what He tried to accomplish.
Yield Yourself To God – Finally, Romans 10:9-10 reveals that true faith includes submission to Christ and confession that Jesus is your Lord or master. That is, you must yield yourself to Him.
It is hard for many people to go to heaven because they think – feel – that they should do something in order to go to heaven. When I was a young person, I was afraid that I would go to hell. I remember lying on my bed and crying some nights because I knew that I deserved to go to hell. I knew that I had done wrong. I knew I was not perfect. I deserved to go to hell. God did not care if I had more “good deeds” than “bad deeds.” He expected me to have only good deeds – nothing less.
What we do not understand is that God wants us to know we cannot do anything to earn the right to go to heaven. I knew I was unacceptable. I was a total failure. There was nothing that I could do which would help me enter heaven. That was bad news. But it was also wonderful news because I chose to depend and trust in Jesus to forgive my sins and take me to heaven. It is so simple that it does not seem possible. You see – believing in Christ means that I understand that I am not good enough to earn my way into heaven. There is nothing good enough in me to earn my way into heaven. I can only get to heaven by depending on Jesus’ forgiveness.
And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved. (NASB) Acts 4:12
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