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...you died tonight - Heaven or Hell?

Not a very nice question you might say, but nevertheless it is a question which you need to know the answer to before death inevitably comes even to you. After all, the certainty of death for every human being is still 100% despite scientific efforts to defy it. Though you might hope it is far from you, you cannot guarantee it, as fatal accidents happen so easily and frequently, and without any warning. It makes sense therefore to consider this question.


A lot of people assume that we cannot know what happens after death, or guess that we simply cease to exist. But there is a source of information on such subjects which has proved itself to be reliable over and over again. This is what it says:


“…it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment”   (Hebrews 9v27)


Where does this come from and what is this judgment?

This is a quotation from the Holy Bible – a book which is very unique. Many who have set out to disprove it have ended up believing its claim of being God given. In it we read that God is the Designer and Creator of all things, and it teaches very clearly that we live on after our body dies - for we are actually soul and spirit, and just living within a body whilst here on earth. After death we go to be judged by our Creator. This is what we are told will happen on that Judgment Day...

“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”   (Revelation 20v12-13)


These books record all that we do while here on earth - whether good or bad. Many people assume that if their good deeds outweigh their bad, that God will allow them into heaven. However the Bible teaches otherwise. It says: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” So if there is any record of sin in your book, you deserve death - Hell, and no amount of good works will ever change that.   (Ezekiel 18v4)


Many people do not think themselves to be sinners, but whether you have always tried to live a good life or not, not one of us have kept every one of God’s 10 Commandments (written in Exodus 20). For example, if you have ever told a lie, you have broken the 9th Commandment, “Thou shalt not bear false witness” - that makes you a liar and the Bible specifically says that no liars will go to heaven*. If you have ever used God’s name as a swear word, you have broken the 3rd Commandment, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain” - that makes you a blasphemer and no such person has a place in heaven. If you have ever lusted after someone, Jesus said, that is as good as committing adultery with them. If you have ever hated someone, Jesus said that is as good as murdering them! We could go on and on - but hopefully this is enough for you to realise that the Bible is true when it says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”   (1John 1v8; *Rev 21:8)


The plain truth is, that if you died tonight, without having your sins forgiven, you would not go to Heaven but would end up in Hell. Listen to how that account of the Judgment Day finishes...

“And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”               (Revelation 20v15)


So what is this ‘Book of Life’ and how can we make sure we don’t end up in that lake of fire?

The ‘Book of Life’ records the names of those who will be welcomed into the Kingdom of Heaven. To have your name written in there, you must first have the record of your sins removed. “How?”, you might ask. Well the Bible tells us...

“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out”   (Acts 3v19)


Our sins can be blotted out of those books if we repent and are converted! But what does this mean? Well, to ‘repent’ means to turn away from doing wrong and to turn to God and what is right. To be ‘converted’ means to be changed - from someone who ignores God, to someone who turns to Him and seeks to obey Him. Of course there is a cost to this, and I don’t mean in money. Some of the wrong things you will have to turn from, may seem enjoyable things. But which is better, to continue in the temporary ‘pleasure’ of sin and end up in Hell for ever (as there is no escape), or to live a life pleasing to God and be welcomed into Heaven where you will experience everlasting joy and contentment, like nothing else you can ever know on earth? Sin may sometimes appear to be fulfilling, but if we turn from it, God can then pour out blessings upon us, even while we are here on earth, which are far better - beyond comparison.


So is turning from sin enough to save us?

Although that is essential, we must also turn to God. The Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved”. The Lord Jesus Christ is God’s Son, also God the Son, part of the Godhead. He came to earth to save us from our sins. The Bible tells us how... “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”   (Acts 16v31; Romans 5v8)


We are also told “the wages (penalty) of sin is death;...”. We deserve death (Hell) and yet the Lord Jesus Christ was willing to suffer and die for us, on the cross. What amazing love we are shown here! He died (and went to Hell) for everyone - those in the past, present and future (but they are not saved unless they turn to Him). Because He Himself had committed no sin, death could not keep Him, and He rose to life again, triumphing over sin, death and Hell because He had paid the penalty. Now to those who will repent and turn to Him, He is able to give a wonderful gift. Listen to the rest of this verse: “...but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Jesus wants to give us eternal life in Heaven as a free gift!  (Romans 6v23)


Jesus then went back to Heaven and has now given us a promise...”If we confess our sins, he (God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Notice that that verse starts with ‘if’ -If we confess”. We have to first admit we are sinners and ask God’s forgiveness, then He will remove the record of our sins, write our names in the ‘Book of Life’ and give us that wonderful gift.   (1 John 1v9)


So what will your response be?


What anguish awaits those who die without their sins forgiven and find themselves in Hell forever! But what joy there will be for those who put their trust and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, when they enter eternal bliss in the Kingdom of Heaven!

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved”


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If you would like to turn to the Lord and accept His wonderful gift, here is a prayer you can say...


Dear Lord Jesus Christ, I acknowledge my need of you. I admit that I am a sinner needing your forgiveness. I come to you now just as I am, and ask you to forgive me for my sins. Thank you for dying for me upon the cross, bearing the penalty of my sins for me. I choose to now turn away from everything I know to be sin in my life. I invite you to come into my life to be Lord of my life. Thank you Lord Jesus.  Amen.


The Lord knows if you are sincerely crying out to Him in your heart, and’ will save you if you mean this prayer.

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