Repent, and believe inthe gospelMark 1:15
If you were to die tonight, would you go to Heaven or to Hell?Q. What kind of question is that? Doesn’t the Bible say that God so loved “the world”?
A. The Bible does say that God loved the world.
John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
However, the Bible also says:
Proverbs 15:9: “The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD…”
Psalms 5:5: “The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity.”
If you follow righteousness, God does love you. But God hates the wicked.
Q. How can the Bible talk about God “loving” and “hating” at the same time? Isn’t “hate” too strong a word?
A. No, the word “hate” is not too strong a word when one realizes that sin and wickedness are abominations to God. The Bible says that God’s fundamental attribute is holiness. To be holy is to be “set apart” and free from all corruption. It is natural, therefore, that God should oppose and hate all that is contrary to His nature.
Romans 1:18: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.”
Q. But I haven’t killed anyone or done anything too serious. In fact, I think that overall I’m a pretty good person. When you say “wicked” how can you be referring to me?
A. God’s standards are found throughout the Bible, but most people know best the “Ten Commandments.” Have you ever lied (ninth commandment)? If so, then you would be considered a liar. Here’s what the Bible says about liars.
Revelations 21:8: “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
Proverbs 6:16-1: “These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.”
Have you ever stolen anything (eighth commandment)? If so, then that would make you a thief. And the Bible has some things to say about thieves as well.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11: “Neither…thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”
By God’s standard of righteousness, even the most moral person is looked upon by God as a desperate sinner. This is because God judges the motives of the heart in addition to outward actions.
1 Chronicles 28:9: “The LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts.”
Jeremiah 17:9: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?”
Even worse, the Bible says that because God is perfectly holy, even the smallest of sins is an infinite offense against Him. This means that one sin is just as bad as a lifetime of sin.
James 2:10: “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.”
Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Q. If it is true that by God’s standards I am a wicked person, what will happen to me?
A. The Bible tells us that at the end of this world, all people will stand before the throne of God and the wicked will be sent away to spend eternity under the judgment of God; a condition called “Hell”.
2 Corinthians 5:10: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ….”
2 Thessalonians 1:7-9: “…[The] Lord Jesus [shall be] revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,”
Q. What hope is there if all have sinned and all that sin are going to Hell?
A. The Bible says that although we have sinned, God provided a Substitute for us – One who was willing to bear God’s wrath upon Himself.
Isaiah 53:6: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
1 Corinthians 15:3-4: “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”
2 Corinthians 5:21: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Q. Are you saying that if I trust in Christ as my Substitute, as the One punished for my sins, that I will not have to worry about Hell anymore?
A. That’s right! The Bible says that if you confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and believe that God raised Him from the dead, then you will be saved.
Romans 10:13: “Whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
Q. All I have to do is believe in Christ? Do I simply have to agree with what the Bible says about Jesus being the Christ and Savior?
A. Actually, believing in Christ means a lot more than agreeing in your mind with the truths of the Bible. It also means that you have an earnest desire to be obedient to what the Bible describes as God’s commands.
1 John 2:3-5: “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
Q. What about other religions and faiths? Aren’t there many roads to Heaven?
A. We have to return to the beginning of our conversation. Remember that what prevents you from an eternal future with God is sin, and since all have sinned unless you address this problem, no amount of good behavior, sorrow, or diligence in religion of any kind will matter. Your sins must be covered, and the Bible says that the One who paid the penalty for your sin was Jesus Christ.
Acts 4:12: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
John 14:6: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’”
Q. How can I believe in Christ when I know so little about Him?
A. The Bible says that God saves us by gifting us with the faith to trust in Christ. God works particularly through the Bible to give us this faith. So, if you really mean business with God about your salvation, you should use every opportunity you have to hear and study the Bible, which is the only Word of God.
Ephesians 2:8-10: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
Romans 10:17: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Q. Do I have to give up or change anything?
A. Yes. When God saves you, He gives you a new nature; one to which the sinful ways of your past are no longer pleasing. We originally loved our sins because we were sinners. But when we come to understand the nature of our sin and what it cost Christ to save us, we will desire only to please God.
Galatians 5:16: “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh”
Q. I don’t know if I am ready for such a large commitment. Do I have time to think about it?
A. You might not have much time at all. For one thing, you may not live to see tomorrow. For another, the Bible says that the end is coming soon.
Luke 12:20: “But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you,’”
Isaiah 55:6-7: “Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts.”
Hebrews 2:3: “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him?”
Q. I do believe, based upon what you’ve told me the Bible says, that by God’s standards I’m a sinner and that the penalty for my sin was paid by Christ. How do I know that God will forgive me?
A. The Bible says that if you call upon the Lord, confessing with your mouth and believing in your heart that Jesus died for you on the cross and then rose from the dead on the third day, that you shall be saved. It also says that God is rich in mercy to those who call upon Him.
Romans 10:9: “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Are you able to pray to God this prayer? “Lord, I realize my sin and I want to turn away from my sinful lifestyle. I know that I am unable to save myself or to be perfect according to Your standards, but I believe that You sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, as a substitute for me. I give you control of my life and desire to follow Your instructions, whatever it may cost me. I ask for Your mercy and that You would enable me to respond to You in faith.”
Q. I have placed my faith in God. What do I do now?
A. Your faith is strengthened by the Word of God, so the best thing you can do is read your Bible. In it is contained anything and everything you need to know to live a life that is pleasing to God.
2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Because it is easy to be distracted by the things of our culture and world, the Bible also tells us that we should gather together regularly with other believers to worship God, to receive encouragement and to be discipled.
Hebrews 10:24-25: “Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
We would like to help you in both areas! If you don’t have a Bible, we have free ones to give away, and we provide weekly opportunities for you to gather together with believers of like-mind for fellowship, encouragement, and teaching from the Bible.