How does somebody get to heaven, exactly?

Throughout history people have come up with all kinds of ideas about God and how to get to heaven. But what does the Bible say?

1. God loves you and created you to know Him personally.

God’s love

“God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

God’s plan

“Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.” (John 17:3)

But there’s a big problem.

2. You are sinful and separated from God because of sin.

You are sinful

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Man was created to have fellowship with God. But, because of his own stubborn self-will, he chose to go his own way and fellowship with God was broken (Genesis 3).

You are separated

“The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). “(Those) who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus… will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord.” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9)

Your spiritual separation prevents you from reaching Heaven.

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God is holy and man is sinful. A great gulf separates the two. The arrows illustrate man’s continually attempt to reach God and establish the personal relationship with Him through his own efforts, such as living a good life, pursuing religion or philosophy–but he inevitably fails. Next, we discover there’s only one way to bridge this gulf …

You don’t believe you’re a sinner?

Examine yourself in the light of God’s 10 Commandments:

  • Have you ever told a lie? Then what are you? A liar.
  • Ever stolen anything, regardless of its value? You’re a thief.
  • Ever lusted after somebody? Jesus said you’ve committed adultery in your heart (Mt. 5:28).
  • Have you ever used God’s name in vain (using His name as a cuss word)? That’s blasphemy.
  • Ever hated somebody? Jesus said you’ve committed murder in your heart (Mt. 5:21).

So by God’s standard you are a lying, thieving, adulterous, blasphemous murderer! And when Jesus comes again on Judgment Day, how do you think He’s going to treat you? Would you go to heaven or hell? Now, for the Good News…

3. Jesus Christ made provision for your sin by His sacrifice on the Cross.

He died in your place

“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

He rose from the dead

“Christ died for our sins… He was buried… He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures… He appeared to Peter, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than 500.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-6)

He is the only way to heaven

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me'”. (John 14:6)

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You can’t reach God in your sins, but Jesus’ sacrifice bridges the gap.

God has bridged the gulf that separates us from Him by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross in our place to pay the penalty for our sins.

However, it is not enough just to know these truths intellectually…

4. You must receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.

You must receive Christ

“As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” (John 1:12)

You receive Christ by faith

“By grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not as a result of works that no one should boast.“ (Ephesians 2:8-9) You receive Him when you place your trust in His sacrifice for you on the cross and when you yield your heart to Him. (Read John 3:1-20)

Your life before and after Christ

Before Christ

After Christ

You can pray to receive Jesus Christ right now.

A suggested prayer

“Lord Jesus, I want to know You personally. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and I receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving me of my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of my life from this day forward. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Where to go from here?

You can begin growing in your walk with Jesus right away. We have a free 30 day online discipleship program to help you get started. Click here to begin that study.

Let us know

Also, please let us know. We would love to keep in touch, pray for you, and hear how God is working in your life. Email us below.


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Author: Shawn Nelson

Shawn Nelson is the President of Geeky Christian, a ministry which seeks to use technology to evangelize the lost and provide free material for Christian growth. He holds a BA in Biblical Studies from San Diego Christian College and is married with two children. He is also the author of several free books and others on Amazon.

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