Do I really have to be born again to go to heaven?

By Dr. Ron Tardif (D.Div. C.C.)

Have you had enough of people's opinions on how to get to heaven? I have. All I want to know are the facts. I often say, "people's opinions are like onions...they all stink."

There are lots of different teachings out there on how to get to heaven, that is, if there is a heaven, and if we fall into the elite group of folk who CAN get there from here. Some religions say that everybody is going there (I hear this a lot at funerals). Some say there is no such place as heaven. And others say only 144,000 are going to get in. So what's the deal? Is it possible for me to earn my way in? And if so, what must I DO to get "saved"?

I happen to believe in the Bible. I don't say this lightheartedly. I have spent years scrutinizing the Bible to see if it is for real. I have come to the conclusion, after MANY years of scrutinizing, that indeed, it is the inspired Word of God. I respect a lot of people's opinions, but on a topic like this, a topic that determines for eternity where I will possibly spend it? I would like more than a highly respected person's opinion. So — I ask — what does the Bible say about it?

First of all, the Bible is quite clear that you can't get into heaven on your own no matter what you do or don't do. You are just like me — a sinner (Romans 3:23). Sinners are doomed, according to the Bible, for eternity, to an everlasting hell — that is, the majority of sinners (Romans 6:23). This would include Atheists (which may not surprise you) and also a whole lot of "Christians" (which may surprise you). There is ONE, yes, only one, type of sinner who can go to heaven — again, according to the Bible. That specific sinner is a person who trusts solely in the finished work of Calvary, by Jesus Christ, and not by head knowledge, but by heart knowledge (Romans 5:8). Allow me to explain.

I am a counselor, a Biblical counselor. Folk usually come to me with their problems, thinking they are beyond solving issues on their own, and need outside Biblical advice. They assume that this problem they are having, whether marital, or with a teenager, or life itself, is their biggest problem. Through the interview process, I often find that they are not Born Again Christians, heading to heaven. So, no matter what their temporary problem here on earth is that they are finding overwhelming, their biggest problem is not a relationship with another individual, or with themselves. No, their biggest problem is that they don't have a personal relationship with God Himself! No matter what your problem in life is, if you are heading to hell for eternity — yes, ETERNITY in hell — and you aren't getting along with your spouse or your child or co-worker or neighbor, the bigger of the two problems you are entertaining is your issue with an Almighty God! In fact, according to the Ten Commandments, until your relationship with God is in order, every other issue in your life will be upside down, heading even deeper downward. This is good news. What? Yes. Once you know what your biggest issues are, AND that there is something that YOU can do about it, then the decision is simple, AND possible. It's up to you. Once you set your priorities in order, putting God first, putting your salvation in Jesus' Hands first, EVERYTHING else will fall into place. That's a promise from the Bible (Matthew 6:33).

To understand more about becoming a Born Again Christian, go to this link.
To find out more about your priorities and what they NEED to be in order to stay out of trouble, go to this link.

In counseling, folk come and tell me a story about their lives, and how their "garage" (for illustration purposes only, this would be why they came for counseling) is on fire and need my help to put out the fire. In the interview process, I notice that their "house" (their problematic relationship with God) is also on fire, and they don't even realize it. It's my job as a counselor to help them see their priorities are out of order, and direct them to put the water hose on the house fire FIRST. As hard as it may seem for some to believe, I actually have some counselees that KNOW that they are not Born Again (that their house is on fire) and want me to merely, for the moment, direct my attention to the "garage" fire. I tell you, I am not built like that. The Almighty made me to prioritize my issues in life and go after the biggest problem FIRST!

Hopefully you are still with me, at the logic of this blog, and are wondering, "Is being Born Again the only way to heaven?" I can tell you emphatically, the Biblical answer is a resounding YES! According to the Bible, it is the ONLY way a person can get into heaven. And, just in case someone out there happens to think that they can earn their way into heaven another way? The Bible is clear on that as well, saying that you cannot earn your way in as that would be a way for you to be "working" on getting in (Titus 3:5). So then you may ask, is Jesus the ONLY way into heaven, according to the Bible of course? The answer to that is also a resounding YES! John 14:6

I hope you are now asking, what must I do to get saved? Or, what must I do to become a Born Again Christian? And will it really matter and make a difference in my life? Here is another link that will help you understand this.

Finally, allow me to tell you a Bible story. There was a high-ranking spiritual Jewish leader named Nicodemus. He came to Jesus at night (no one knows why he came at night) to ask Him a question. Jesus, knowing that his "house" was on fire, didn't wait for Nicodemus to even ask his question of what to do about his "garage" that was on fire, and tells him that he needs to be Born Again or he will NOT be able to enter into heaven. You can read this Biblical account in John 3:1-18. If this was true for Nicodemus, it's also true for you and me.

Bottom line: no matter who you are, or what your title is, or what you've accomplished in this life, OR even what sins you have committed in this life, unless you are Born Again, the Bible clearly tells us that we can't get into heaven. Period. This is the most critical lesson a person must get correct in this life, in order to make any forward progress with their relationships with God, and with man. Remember, Jesus said to Nicodemus, THREE TIMES, "Nicodemus, you must be born again or you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven" (John 3:3, 5, 7).

Image Credit: Unsplash; untitled; Creative Commons

TagsBiblical-Salvation  | Biblical-Truth  | Controversial-Issues  | Eternity-Forever  | Jesus-Christ  | Witnessing-Evangelism

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Published 5-30-17