Have you ever wished you could get tickets to major events like the Super Bowl, the Academy Awards, or a presidential inauguration? Getting tickets to important events isn't always easy, and it's usually expen-sive. But one thing is for sure--if you don't have a ticket, you won't get in.
Getting into heaven is a whole lot more important, because heaven is forever. So is hell. The decisions you make in this life determine where your eternal destination will be. And just as with the major events of our culture, you need a ticket to get into heaven, something that proves you should be admitted.
Unlike tickets for entertainment events, how-ever, you can't purchase a ticket to heaven. The price for entrance is righteousness--you must be sinless and perfect. That's what you need to enter heaven, since "nothing unclean will ever enter it" (Revelation 21:27).
Since that's the entry requirement, it seems impossible to get in. After all, it's true--we are sinners and far from perfect. The Bible says we all sin and fail to meet God's standards for righteousness (Romans 3:23). Because of that, we are under condemnation and destined to die (John 3:36; Romans 6:23).
Despite that, we can find entry into heaven because God has provided a ticket for us.
How Do I Get This Heavenly Ticket?
Our ticket into heaven comes to us by faith. We can't earn it by doing lots of good deeds, like giving away money or serving the poor. It's only through faith that we gain admittance.
The faith we need is to believe that when Jesus, God's sinless Son, died on the cross, he made it possible for our sins to be forgiven. We deserve to be on that cross, but Jesus died in our place. The Bible says, "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness" (1 Peter 2:24). Our own righteousness won't admit us to heaven, but only "the righteousness from God that depends on faith" (Philippians 3:9).
Faith is trusting what God says and in what he has done for us. Jesus willingly died for us and was raised from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. When we genuinely believe this truth, we are admitted into heaven when our earthly life is over. "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9).
It Gets Even Better
When we place our faith in Jesus Christ for salvation from sin's judgment, God credits us with Jesus's perfect righteousness. Christ is our righteous "ticket" to heaven. God forgives all our sins because Jesus bore the penalty for them on our behalf. The Bible tells us, "For our sake, he made Christ] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21). Our sins were applied to Jesus so that his righteousness could be applied to us
You may wonder why God would ever do such a thing. He did it because he loves us. "God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not per-ish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). Love is the source of the great exchange God made-- our sin for Christ's righteousness.
When it comes time to leave this earth, those who have put their faith in Christ will go to heaven. Do you have your ticket? If not, it's not too late to trust in Christ for forgiveness of your sins and the gift of eternal life. If that's your sincere desire, here's a prayer that can help you express your decision to God:
God, I acknowledge that I am sinful, and I know that I cannot live with you in heaven unless I have righteousness. Please forgive me for my sinful ways. I believe that Jesus died on the cross and had all of my sins applied to his pure and sinless self. I also believe that he was raised from the dead in order that I might be also. Please apply Jesus's righteousness to me so that I can become a new creation and live with you forever. Amen.