I am in the middle of leading a Bible Study using Randy Alcorn’s Heaven material. I am learning so much! I never realized how much the Bible tells us about Heaven (The intermediate Heaven ~ where my dear husband is) and our future Eternal Heaven. The following is an excerpt from the book. I was so impressed how concisely Randy laid out the map to heaven – I just had to copy and put it here for myself and others. My prayer is that others will realize that heaven IS NOT the default destination for those who do not believe in and put their trust in Jesus, the Son of God.
John 14:6 ~ “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”.
The following is taken from Randy Alcorn’s book, Heaven (pages 33-35)
God’s Map to Heaven ~ His Good News!
What you Need to Know and Do
To sin is to fall short of God’s holy standards. Sin is what ended Eden’s Paradise. And all of us, like Adam and Eve, are sinners. You are a sinner. That’s the first thing you need to know. Sin deceives us and makes us think that wrong is right and right is wrong.
There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.~ Proverbs 14:12
Sin has consequences, but God has provided a solution for our sin:
“The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” ~ Romans 6:23
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, loved us so much that he became a man to deliver us from sin.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”~ John 3:16
He came to identify with us in our humanity and our weakness, but he did so without being tainted by our sin, self-deception, and moral failings.
For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. ~ Hebrews 2:17,18
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. ~Hebrews 4:15,16
We’re told that… God made him (Christ) who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. ~2 Corinthians 5:21
This means that even though we are under God’s wrath for our sins, Jesus died on the cross as our representative, our substitute. God then poured out his wrath on Christ instead of on us. Christ, who stood in our place, conveyed his righteousness to us so that we are declared innocent of all our sins and declared righteous, so we may enter the very presence of God in Heaven and be at home with him there.
No other prophet or religious figure – only Jesus, the Son of God – is worthy to pay the penalty for our sins demanded by God’s holiness.
I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed, He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” ~ Revelation 5:4,5
And they sang a new song:
“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” ~ Revelation 5:9,10
Only when our sins are dealt with in Christ can we enter Heaven. We cannot pay our own way.
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. ~ Acts 4:12
Being himself God and therefore all-powerful, Jesus Christ rose from the grave, defeating sin and conquering death.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures… ~ 1 Corinthians 15:3,4
When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:54-57
When Christ died on the cross for us, he said, “It is finished.”
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” ~ John 19:30
The Greek word translated “it is finished” was commonly written across certificates of debt when they were canceled. It meant “paid in full.” Christ died so that the certificate of debt, consisting of all our sins, could once and for all be marked “paid in full.”
Because of Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross on our behalf, God freely offers us forgiveness.
“He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities…As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” ~ Psalm 103:10-12
Forgiveness is not automatic. If we want to be forgiven, we must recognize and repent of our sins:
“He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” ~ Proverbs 28:13
Forgiveness is established by our confession:
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” ~ 1 John 1:9
Christ offers to everyone the gift of forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life:
“Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life” ~ Revelation 22:17
There’s no righteous deed we can do that will earn us a place in Heaven.
...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, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. ~ Titus 3:5
We come to Christ empty-handed. We can take no credit for salvation:
“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” ~ Ephesians 2:8-9
This gift cannot be worked for, earned, or achieved in any sense. It’s not dependent on our merit or effort but sorely on Christ’s generous and sufficient sacrifice on our behalf. Ultimately, God’s great gift is himself. We don’t just need salvation, we need Jesus the Savior. It is the person, God, who graciously give us the place, Heaven.