Yes. If you don’t want to read any further, and you’re content with a one-word answer to this question that has (for some reason) stumped just about everyone on the planet, you can stop reading there and move on with your life. I won’t be offended, I promise. Ok, maybe a little.

The truth is, I have heard well-meaning Christians utter phrases like “If I make it to Heaven,” or, even worse, “I hope they get there,” as if Heaven is some kind of VIP area that only the super-elite are allowed into. And it’s one thing for someone who is seeking Christ from a fresh perspective, but it’s quite another for someone who is in their 80’s, who has been obedient all their life.

This question is more than just an issue of semantics, and it’s not just a rah-rah, feel-good article. The text is very clear on the hope that every Christian should have that Heaven is there for those who are in Christ. Hebrews 6:19 teaches us: “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil.” Anchors keep us in place, firmly rooting us when the waves of this life try to knock us off course.

Paul made little effort to hide his unquestioned faith in the home that lay beyond his eventual execution: “The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen” (2 Tim. 4:18). Earlier in the same chapter, he would say that this promise extends not only to him, “but also to all who have loved his appearing.”

So why do we lose confidence in salvation? Here’s a couple ideas:

Our Faith is in Men, Not God

Despite the repeated admonitions that the Bible is our sole guide that teaches us how to get to Heaven (2 Tim. 3:16-17), far too often we put our trust in what comes out of the pulpit, or the latest self-help book. There’s not anything inherently wrong with pulpits or self-help books, but unfettered devotion to a man or a cause is an eternally dangerous proposition, and has the potential to throw us off track spiritually. If you find yourself listening to men speak more than God, you may have found the cause of your uncertainty regarding salvation.

Our Salvation is Based on Works, not Grace.

DO NOT GET ME WRONG HERE; WORKS IS NOT THE SAME AS OBEDIENCE. When I say works, I mean meritorious works of salvation that one does to earn your salvation in place of the Cross. What I am absolutely not alluding to here is that one does nothing in regards to salvation; the Scriptures are clear that one MUST obey God in order to be saved  (John 14:15; Luke 6:46; Matt. 7:21; James 1:22; James 2:24; John 14:23; 2 Thess. 1:8; Eccl. 12:13; et. al).

That being said, if you think that God will simply be impressed with who you are in this life, and that He’ll just open up the gates because you have 100,000 twitter followers to your Bible-based blog (#blessed), you have another thing coming (Matt. 25:31-46). The thing that impresses God is obedience and devotion to His word, coupled with an ironclad embrace of the sacrifice of Jesus.

Salvation is not something we should put on auto-pilot and simply hope for the best. We should go to bed every night convinced that if we do not rise the next morning, our soul is secure. Ultimately God is the final judge, but as we reflect back on our day, we should be able to honestly say, “I lived for God today.” And if we can’t, pray to God for forgiveness, and do better tomorrow.

Last modified: September 27, 2021