“If I’m good I’ll go to heaven.”

See The Good News - We Are Reconciled

Ephesians 2.8-9 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.

Titus 3.5 – He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit...

The Reality: The Bible makes it clear that we are not saved because of anything we do – otherwise, as Paul says in the verse above, we could boast that we got to heaven on our own, without God’s grace. Good behavior is a result of salvation, not the cause of it – unfortunately too many people get this confused!

“Going to heaven is the point of getting saved.” or
“Becoming a Christian is a ‘free ticket’ to heaven.”

See The Good News - We Are Loved and A Few Questions - What are we saved from?

The Reality: If you think that heaven is the ultimate goal of salvation, you’re completely missing out on what God has for you NOW! When we repent of our sin, we are saved from hell, but more importantly, we are saved from the power of sin in our life – that means salvation causes a change in the way we live and gives us a purpose in life. Besides being saved from these things, salvation entitles us to a wonderful, personal relationship with God because of what Christ did for us on the cross.

In addition to all that is gained in this life from living God’s way, the Bible teaches that believers will be rewarded in heaven for the things they do on earth. This fact may not directly motivate us to obey God and pursue a relationship with Him, but knowing that we are still accountable for what we do on earth even after we become a Christian will impact our decisions and actions. When we are saved, we’re given eternal life (heaven), but what we do with our life after salvation is rewarded (but not punished) by God. These two verses discuss this “judgement” for Christians:

1 Corinthians 3.11-15 – For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

1 Corinthians 5.10 – For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

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M. Schmidt © 2005