In a Sunday edition of USA Weekend, the findings of a poll conducted across America were published. The question was, “What are your chances of going to heaven?” Seventy-two percent of the U.S. citizens interviewed rated their chances of making it to heaven as good to excellent. One man from Illinois rated his chances of going to heaven at fifty-fifty. “The older I get, the more I think my chances will improve,” the man said.
Another responded, “I don’t think the entrance exam will be all that tough!”
And one woman from Indiana said, “You have to be more than a nice person but I’m still in the running.”
Before we examine what the scriptures say, a few observations are in order. To begin with, many of the respondents expressed the belief that going to heaven is a matter of chance. Are they right? Is it just a gamble like going to the Kentucky Derby and hoping you’ve wagered on the right horse? Or is going to heaven something more than a matter of chance?
In addition to this, many of those responding believed that salvation was based on human effort. For example, with regard to the matter of going to heaven, one person said, “You just have to be a good person.” Is that all it takes? Just being a good person? Trying to live right and not breaking the Ten Commandments?
A third observation regards the Bible itself. What does the Bible say about one’s chances of going to heaven? None of the respondents seemed remotely aware of the scriptural requirements of going to heaven. Since it is from the Scriptures that we learn what little we know about heaven, it would seem there should be a desire on the part of people to know what the Bible says about the subject. But, surprisingly, many of those asked neither knew the Scriptures nor displayed much curiosity in settling the question from the standpoint of the Bible.
I believe in a physician when I put my case into his hands and trust him to heal me. I believe in a lawyer when I leave my case in his hands and trust him to plead for me. I believe in a banker when I put money into his hands and allow him to keep it on my behalf.
I believe in my Savior when I take Him to be my Savior, by putting my helpless case into His hands, and trust Him to do what I cannot do for myself—save me from my sin.
You believe there is such a person as Jesus, and that He is the sinner’s Savior. You do well; but that is only a partial and incomplete faith. To believe that a certain doctor exists and has a large practice is not to believe personally in that doctor. True faith means you leave your eternity in His hands. Do you such confidence in Christ to be the Savior you need?
“What is a saint?” the youngster asked; So his parents set out to explain. They attempted to make it plain. They told of Matthew, Mark and Luke, and ended with John and Paul; But the boy just couldn’t relate to this.
Then the parents went to their church and showed him the stained glass windows there; The faces of the elect shone out as they preached or knelt in prayer. The boy was asked if he understood, and he said, “I think I do; With what I’ve seen, I’d say that a saint Is a person the light shines through.”