Before I begin, I would like to say Happy Reformation Day to everyone who is reading this (Even though I'm a day early). Ecclesia Semper Reformanda Est. The Church is always to be reformed.
How do we get to Heaven?
Many people say that the way to get to Heaven is to be a good person. If you go through life being generally good, you will go to Heaven no matter what. I say thank God that is not the case. For the Bible says that no one is good. Romans 3:10-12 (ESV) says “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” So if this idea of who goes to Heaven was true, then none of us would. No one from Joseph Stalin to Noah, from Pope Francis to John MacArthur, from Ronald Reagan to Barrack Obama. If Heaven was reserved for good people, then it would be vacant with the exception of God and the elect angels.
Many people say that we get there by working hard. By many, I mean MANY. The Mormons believe this. So do the Jehovah's Witness, the Hebrew Roots Movement, the Pelagians, the Mohammedans (Muslims), and basically every other major world religion. Even the Roman Catholic Church believes this. The very point of the Reformation was salvation by faith alone vs. salvation by faith+works. This idea is equally as flawed. Romans 3:20 (ESV) states, "For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin." Thanks be to God that our good works are not the source of our salvation, because, "... all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment." (Isaiah 64:6, ESV) Just like the good person idea, if this were true, no one could possibly get to Heaven.
Many people say that everyone goes to Heaven, no matter what. This one is just as false as the other two. The Bible explicitly talks about literal torment in many places, and it specifically speaks of human beings going there. Just one of these places is the account of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Which I do not think is a parable, because it actually gives the name of Lazarus). It specifically talks about Hell in Revelation 20:15 (ESV): "And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."
Many people say that people can go to Heaven without believing in Jesus. The Roman Catholic Church teaches this is Lumen Gentium 16. Their leader, Pope Francis, teaches this as well. Many professed Protestants teach this as well. Much of the Emergent Movement, Liberal Christians, and even some more conservative people that are well respected by the Church. But John 3:18 (ESV) clearly speaks against this. "Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God."
Still, a few say that it is only a certain ethnic group. The Black Hebrew Israelite cult is the main teacher of this, saying that Blacks (and some add Native Americans to that) are the true Israel and that they are the only ones to inherit the Kingdom of God. But in Galatians 3:28 (ESV), we see, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Not only does that mean that who God chooses to save does not depend on ethnicity, gender, or status, but that also shows that he saves both Jew and Greek, as he calls them one in Christ.
So, then, how are we saved? The Bible is clear on the topic. "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9, ESV). There is no way to be saved except by the Grace of God. We are saved by Grace alone, through Faith alone, in Christ alone.
The Bible says, "So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy." (Romans 9:16, ESV). And that is one of the greatest things about salvation. It doesn't depend on our works. It doesn't depend on our choice. It depends on God, who has mercy on us. So this Reformation Day, consider these beautiful doctrines of Sola Fide (Faith Alone), Sola Gratia (Grace Alone), and Solus Christus (Christ Alone) that God raised up the reformers to defend. God raised up Martin Luther, John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, John Wycliffe, Phillip Melancthon, John Knox, Thomas Cranmer, William Tyndale, Jan Hus, and many others to defend these doctrines against the Catholic Church. Remember that next time these are called into question. But more importantly, remember the Savior who died that makes these doctrines true and possible. Soli Deo Gloria. To the Glory of God Alone.
About the Author
Brandon C. Hines is a young writer from somewhere in northern Alabama who writes about Theology, Polemics, and Apologetics. His beliefs are best summarized by the 1689 London Baptist Confession.
You can search for various topics I have written about by going to Google and typing in a keyword, then typing site:Learningthepath.weebly.com after it.