When I was younger, I did not understand why Jesus dying on the cross got me into heaven. Now that I understand, I will try and explain this to the best of my ability. I will start with the hard truth about sin. I will explain how our relationship with Jesus saves us from the punishment of hell and the wrath of God in the tribulation. I will show you through a courtroom scenario how Jesus sets us free. I will also explain what it means to be born again.
God is Holy and cannot have anything unholy in Heaven. As humans, we have been defiled by sin and are therefore unholy. God’s Holiness burns up all sin. Hebrews 12:29, “For our God is a consuming fire.” Think of sin like gasoline. It would be similar to us having gasoline all over us and then walking into the presence of a fire. Isaiah 9:19, “Through the wrath of the LORD of hosts the land is scorched, and the people are like fuel for the fire….” Isaiah 33:14, “…Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?” Isaiah goes on to say the righteous who are forgiven of their sins will be able to dwell with God. There are two places we can spend eternity. With God in heaven or without God in hell, and unfortunately, hell is the default position due to our sin nature. The only way we can dwell with God is to be wiped clean of our sins.
Our relationship with Jesus is like a marriage, and that is why the church is referred to as the bride and Jesus is referred to as the bridegroom. 2 Corinthians 11:2, “For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.” Isaiah 62:5, “…and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.”
Women generally like to think of themselves as a bride, while men may sometimes feel uncomfortable with that analogy. Men, you can think of yourselves as part of the body of Christ. Romans 12:5, “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and everyone members one of another.” 1 Corinthians 12:12 goes into some more details about believers and the body of Christ. Jesus is the strongest, most loving man there is. He spoke boldly and was well respected. He was not afraid of anyone or anything. So, Men, be proud in your identity as part of him.
Marriage is a choice two people make of their own free will. When two people are married, the Bible says they become one body, one flesh. EPHESIANS 5:30-32, “For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”
The body of Christ already paid for sin on the cross, and God does not punish twice. Because we have accepted a relationship with Jesus, we have become one body with him. Since the body of Christ took the wrath of God, it means we as individuals do not have to. It would be like double jeopardy if God was to take his wrath out on us. This is one of the reasons the bride needs to be removed prior to the tribulation. The tribulation is when the wrath of God is poured out on an unbelieving world, and Jesus’ body has already received that wrath at Calvary. We are safe in the body of Christ. Those who have not become one body with Jesus will be responsible to take the punishment themselves.
God has given us free will to choose life with him or without him for all eternity. If you choose not to be with him, he will be heartbroken, but he will respect your decision. God is the essence of Love (1 John 4:8) and everything good (James 1:17). You will freely enter a place upon your death that has nothing to do with God. Hell is the absence of God in every way.
When we desire to love God and be with him, we answer the door when Jesus knocks on our heart. We let him in by spending time with God in prayer and by reading his Word. By spending time with him, we come to know his heart. We will learn that God’s love for us is so great that it caused him to sacrifice his own son. As a mom, that pain and sacrifice is unimaginable for me. I could not bear to see my child endure what Jesus did. God watched his son being rejected, beaten and killed. Not only that, but Jesus voluntarily made the choice to hang on that cross and take the punishment and death that we all deserved.
John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” We serve a God who loves us so much. A love so intense, this is what they were willing to do to keep us out of hell and with them. It makes me so upset when lies are spread about God. The devil likes to get people to think that God hates them or he will never forgive them. Some people think that God made them sick to teach them a lesson. It’s a character assassination by the devil. God wouldn’t endure the cross if he hated us and was going to hold back forgiveness. Get to know God personally, and you will fall in love with him!
We serve a God of justice (Isaiah 30:18), and sin needs to be punished. Isaiah 33:22, “For the LORD is our judge; the LORD is our lawgiver; the LORD is our king; he will save us.” There are 613 laws in the Old Testament. He knows we are weak in the flesh and have been unable to keep his perfect laws. Since flesh broke the law, flesh needed to pay for the sins of the law. God had a solution that would allow him to enforce justice and free us from sin.
Jesus’ Spirit, being fully God, came down in the form of man so he could fulfill perfectly the laws in the flesh. The Bible says in Romans 6:23 that “the wages of sin is death.” Because Jesus never sinned, he would still be alive today. He chose to allow his life to be taken (John 10:17-18) so that through him we can have eternal life.
Romans 8:3-4, “For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
Romans 5:12-21 says it was through one man’s disobedience (Adam) that sin and death entered the world, and it is through one man’s obedience (Jesus) that eternal life has entered the world.
We can think of sin like a crime that will cause us to be thrown in jail. God loves his creation and did not want us to be thrown into jail for all eternity because we have broken the law.
Jesus is the only one who has been able to keep all the laws. He is without sin (1 Peter 2:22, Hebrews 4:15, 2 Corinthians 5:21). All of us have sinned in thought, word, and deed during our lifetime. Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” It would not matter if someone kept all the laws their entire life but one day got into a car while intoxicated and drove. Breaking just one law can get someone thrown in jail. This is the same with sin. James 2:10, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.” We cannot get ourselves out of jail once we are in it. Someone who is not in jail needs to bail us out. Jesus is the only one who remains free, and lucky for us, he is a defense attorney (1 John 2:1) and is available to intercede (Romans 8:34) for anyone who will call upon him. Romans 10:13, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
In the heavenly courtroom, this is how I see our salvation play out, if we have called upon the name of Jesus. We broke the law, and Jesus wants to set us free.
We must first plead guilty. Proverbs 28:13, “He who conceals his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them will find mercy.”
Once you acknowledge your sins, you need to willingly turn from them. Acts 3:19, “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out.” The judge is not going to have mercy on you and let you go free, if you have no desire to do what is right.
The judge, who is Father God, says they have broken the law, and I cannot just let them walk free or I would not be a just Judge. This judge cannot be bribed. He will not be swayed by all the good things that you have done in your life. He will judge the sin.
Jesus approaches the judge and says, this is not only my client but my bride, and I am willing to pay the penalty for her. Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”
The judge lets Jesus know that her bail comes at a very high price. 1 Corinthians 6:20, “for you were bought with a price.” Jesus says she is worth it, for I love her with all my heart.
Jesus paid the penalty on the cross. Colossians 2:13:14, “…He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.”
Romans 7:6, “…by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.”
Without Jesus we will remain condemned. We would go to a place of eternal punishment without any luxuries or freedom and isolated from the ones we love.
Jesus described what hell is like multiple times to warn us. If you really want to know what hell will be like, check out this video from Bill Wiese, 23 Minutes in Hell. Jesus gave him a vision of hell so he can warn people. The vision aligns with scripture. After I had watched the video, it created a stronger desire in me to share the gospel.
When Jesus’ bride fully understands the horrible place she was headed to for the rest of her life, she will become eternally grateful. Jesus suffered intense pain to bail out the one he loves from jail because he knew how bad it would be.
Isaiah 50:6, “I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.”
Isaiah 52:14, “Just as many were appalled at Him. His appearance was disfigured beyond that of any man, and His form was marred beyond human likeness.”
John 3:3-6, “Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.’ ‘How can someone be born when they are old?’ Nicodemus asked. ‘Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!’ Jesus answered, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.’”
When we make Jesus our Lord and Savior, his Spirit joins with our spirit and seals us for eternal life. Ezekiel 36:26-27, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” See also Romans 8:9-11 & 1 Corinthians 6:19.
We don’t need to be a good person and perfect in our ways when we accept Jesus. We can come to him beat up, emotionally damaged, full of sin, unloved and completely flawed. Jesus loves us unconditionally. When we give Jesus our life, he will take the broken pieces and will mold us into his beautiful creation. He is our potter. Isaiah 64:8, “Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Sometimes we are a broken vessel and can only see a mess, but God does not see a mess. He sees the beauty in us. He takes hard, cracked and broken clay and softens it with water (Isaiah 12:3, Hebrews 10:22). Titus 3:5, “…He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” Once we have been softened, he starts to mold us.
At salvation in the moment we are born again, God gives us the Holy Spirit. His Spirit is here to support us as we walk in God’s ways. The Holy Spirit is our teacher (John 14:27). He is our helper (John 14:26). He is our comforter (Acts 9:31). He will lead us (Romans 8:14). He gives life to our bodies and our spirit (Romans 8:10-11). He gives us power (Acts 1:8). He guides you into all truth (John 16:13). He fills us with God’s love (Romans 5:5). He helps us understand things (1 Corinthians 2:12). He convicts us of sin and righteousness (John 16:8). The Holy Spirit also produces in us many good things (2 Timothy 1:7, Joel 2:28, & Galatians 5:22).
If you would like to become betrothed to your Savior and a child of God filled with the Holy Spirit, this is all you need to do.
- ACKNOWLEDGE you are a sinner in need of salvation, and ask God to forgive you for the bad things you have done (1 John 1:8-9, Psalm 32:5 & Proverbs 28:13).
- REPENT and turn away from sin (Luke 13:3 & Acts 3:19). We won’t be perfect and sinless, but with God’s help, we will move away from living a sinful lifestyle and work on living a life pleasing to him. We can find what is pleasing to him in his word (I John 2:17 & John 14:15, Matthew 6:14 & Luke 9:23).
- BELIEVE in your heart that Jesus, being fully God, died to take on the punishment for your sins, that he was buried and that God raised Jesus from the dead on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3-11 & Colossians 2:8-9). You need to believe salvation is by grace and nothing you can earn yourself. It is a free gift fully paid for by Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-9).
- CONFESS out loud that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9-10).
If you want to let God into your heart, just speak to him out loud wherever you are right now. You don’t need a set prayer to give God your heart. I will give you an example of something you can say if you are struggling for words.
Dear Father God, I come to you in the name of Jesus. Please forgive me for all the wrong things that I have done in my life. I am willing to follow in the ways you have taught, knowing that this will please you. I believe that your son Jesus willingly sacrificed himself on the cross for all my sins. He took on my punishment because he loves me. I believe that you raised Jesus from the dead, and he now sits at your right side in heaven. Lord, I give you my heart and ask that you transform me into a new creation. I thank you for the sacrifice you made for me and the free gift of salvation that I am receiving today, in Jesus’ name.
If you were sincere in your prayer, per Revelation 3:5 your name was just written in the book of life. I want to congratulate everyone who just found their life partner in Jesus!
Cultivate your relationship by praying and reading his word. When you believe and accept Jesus into your life, most often you will not feel any different, but slowly you will start to feel his peace and presence in your life as you keep drawing near to him through prayer and reading his word. James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”
Don’t be surprised if the devil gets mad and will shoot some darts your way (Ephesians 6:16). Darts can be a bunch of negative thoughts such as you’re not really saved, or you cannot be forgiven because of what you have done. Don’t entertain those thoughts; just cast them out (2 Corinthians 10:5). Rejoice! The devil cannot change the outcome. “Resist the devil and he will flee” (James 4:7).
Heaven is full of joy when you trust in Jesus. Luke 15:10, “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Oh, how I wish I could see heaven right now and hear them cheering for you!
Your sister in Christ,