Read 1 John 5:10-14
Over the last four years, I have had the unique privilege and opportunity to lead a high school men’s Grace Group. My co-leader and I have been with these guys since they were freshmen and here we are in the fall of their senior year. Helping shepherd these young men as they develop and make their faith their own is an experience I will not soon forget, and frankly, will always cherish. One of my favorite things about our group of guys is their curiosity about Jesus and their high-level thinking about their faith. I find myself challenged after each Sunday night gathering to be a better man, leader, and follower of Jesus so I can be ready to field their questions the next time we meet.
A question that undoubtedly arises each year is one we all at some point or another have considered, or may even ponder regularly.
“How can I be certain I am going to heaven?”
The question for most folks who have been around church for any length of time might seem obvious “by trusting in Jesus.” At face value, this response might seem oversimplified and leave the questioner with more questions than answers. “How do I know if I truly trust Jesus?” “How do I know if I trust Him enough to get into heaven?” “So Taylor, if I trust in Jesus now, does that mean I don’t have to do anything to get into heaven?” These are all common (and fair) followup questions I would get from our guys after giving my initial response.
John gives us a great word in our reading today that speaks directly to these issues. Assurance in heaven is simple. It’s a black and white issue that all too often people try to complicate. While the response “trust in Jesus” might seem oversimplified, candidly, it is not. When John was writing 1 John, he was writing to the church at a time when there were false prophets trying to complicate, water down, and even pick away at the credibility of Jesus and the gospel message. There were literally theological attacks on all fronts. Sound familiar? I have an affinity for this book because John tries to reaffirm the key principles of faith in Jesus in a short, concise, and loving way.
His message in the final pages of this letter to the church is clear. Do not over complicate the matter. Jesus came for you. He came to eliminate all the entry requirements that existed in the old Jewish law. He came to bear your burden, your sin, your failures before God because He loves you. He wants to spend an eternity with you. All you have to do is make one simple choice. Choosing to love Jesus, trust Him, and follow Him with your life is your confidence that one day you will meet our King of Glory in heaven. I know it sounds simple. But that’s the point. Jesus took on the complications so we did not have to. My friends- this is the gospel.
This is what love does.
Have you trusted Jesus with your life? If the answer is yes, brother or sister, I’ll look forward to seeing you in heaven. If the answer is no, and you want to make this life-changing decision today, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). I want to pray with you and celebrate your faith in Jesus.