How Can I Get to Heaven?
How to Get Saved, Stay Saved and Live Saved
First, you have to give up the false idea that there is something other than a true heaven out there. Then, you need to realize that you cannot possibly “get” yourself there. Then, the rest is up to Someone else…
And a ruler asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Luke 18:18 ESV
Let Someone Else Save You
You are going to love this! You getting to heaven is a piece of cake. Jesus has literally done all of the hard work and the Holy Spirit will be doing all the heavy lifting. You don't even have to convince Father God to let you in—He wants you in!
Getting you saved so that you can get to heaven is your loving Father's idea from beginning to end. If the enemy had his way, you would never even realize that there is a heaven to go to (and a hell to avoid) and you would certainly never realize that you are going to need Jesus to save you in order to get you there. If you are wondering "How can I get to heaven?" then relax--this is a clear sign that the God of heaven is already working with you to get you there.
God has been working to save you all throughout your life. You just may not be very aware of what He has been doing. So, stay calm. You don't need to talk God into saving you or impress Him with how terrified you are of hell or how aghast you are at your own sinfulness. If you even have a glimmer of these realities, it is because He has been helping you to know the truth so that He can use your love of the truth (which He gives you) to save you.
The Only Thing You Need
All you need to do to get to heaven is to "get saved." This phrase has many true facets of meaning which you will hear from time to time, such as "entering into a life-saving relationship with Jesus Christ"; "giving your life to Christ"; "having your sins forgiven"; "turning from sin to live for God"; "inviting Jesus into your heart and life"; "believing in what Jesus has done for you at the cross"; and of course "being born again."
Don't let this confuse you! The main idea is that you are making an appeal to God to save you and you are choosing to put your belief and trust in what He says He has done for you through Jesus Christ. This act of faith is our side of it in terms of the part we play.
On the Father's side, there is a lot going on that we can't see and only partially may feel or sense. These will be covered more fully in the article “What is the new birth?” For now let’s just say that what is involved in our salvation is nothing less than making us entirely new creations placed in a new spiritual environment (new for us) called the Kingdom of God. Truly, God does all of the hardest parts!
Preparing for the Steps
So far, we have been talking about turning towards God to be saved so that we can get to heaven. This is the second half of salvation, so to speak, the longer and better half: Being saved for God, for this life and for heaven. The first part is being saved from our sins and from hell. The two go hand in hand. You absolutely cannot take sins with you into heaven. In fact, they are guaranteed to take you in the opposite direction, if you cling to them down here! They also get in the way of enjoying the earthly life heaven wants to give you.
These two sides of salvation are encompassed by a word which describes the necessary first step of the process: repentance. Repentance indicates a change of mind or a change of direction. It also carries a dual meaning: turning from sin and turning towards God. Repentance may include feeling sorry, but in essence it is a turning around. Imagine a traveler feeling sorry he is going in the wrong direction but continuing on anyway—that’s not repentance. That's hard-headedness! Repentance is turning completely around and going the right way.
Desiring to be saved means, therefore, that there is a genuine willingness to give up anything in your life in order to turn to God. No one can become free of sin without God’s help, so a part of repentance and the salvation which follows it, is seeking God’s love, wisdom and power for complete deliverance from known sins. Fortunately for all of us, the Lord doesn’t say, “Get free of your sins, and then I’ll see about saving you.” Mercifully, He receives all who turn to Him, no matter what their condition. Even so, there has to be a resolute and real decision to turn from sin as part of the turning to God. Otherwise, we are still heading the wrong way on the road but praying that God will miraculously make it end at the right destination anyway. That’s not being real.
The Part You Have to Play
What do you have to part with immediately? You have to give up at least those portions of pride and fear that have been holding you back. These may seem like friends and wise counselors, but they are not. Pride and fear are our enemies! They have pushed and pulled us into countless dangers and wrong directions. All along they have been thwarting God's desire to draw us into His loving embrace.
Don't worry; you don't have to give up all your pride and fear — even if you could. Alas, there is simply too much of it to become free all at once. Genuine liberation from those two formidable foes will take God working with us step by step as we get to know Him better. So, be prepared: You will have pride and fear dogging your steps for some time to come. This isn't a final farewell to those false friends, but it is a good beginning.
You would also be wise to give up your claim to yourself, your right to do things "my way." I have known many people who have been saved without doing this, but they are a sad sight, really. Trying to go on living for that false god Self with Jesus on the inside is an idea that cannot fly. What works beautifully is learning how to live for Jesus, allowing Him to take the lead. He knows what’s truly good for you and always has your best interest at heart.
Why not give yourself fully and freely to Jesus and be done with it? Your life won't be worth a plugged nickel to you if you die without giving it to the Lord for Him to save. And it isn't worth much even now if you try to live without Him. It will never bring you peace and fulfillment unless it is given entirely to God. Don't wait to get to heaven to finally live for Jesus. Don't wait until you die to start living the heavenly life. It is always meant to be lived right here, right now. There really is no other time and place for it but this present moment and all the present moments which will follow this one.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33
The Steps to Heaven
The way up first leads us down. These steps to heaven begin by leading “downward” into the humility of total honesty, into facing unpleasant realities and into recognizing our moral failure.
Realize that you will die one day. This first step to awakening is obvious once you have taken it. Nevertheless, countless multitudes live in apparent denial, thinking or hoping that they will never have to face the day of their own death. The truth is it won't kill you to look death square in the face—even your own inevitable death—nor will it rob you of your zest for life. And if things go well, you will arrive at the Right Solution to the death dilemma and a sword that has been hanging over your head will have been removed. That's a good thing! So, let's turn and face the dread reality: Every life ends in death. Or does it?
Realize that you want to go to heaven, not hell. Life doesn’t “just end” with death: It goes on long after we die. Most of us have a nagging suspicion that there are only two possible outcomes to life on earth: eternal life or eternal death; eternal reward or eternal punishment; heaven or hell. No one wants to burn. Sure, some crazy, hell-bent rock stars think it’s going to be a party down under, but no sane person believes that.
Realize you can't get to heaven by yourself. You are doing great so far! You have passed two fundamental measures of sanity: a) you know you are not god and that your life on earth will end one day and b) you have the good sense to realize that you need to strap on a golden parachute before your plane crashes and burns. But that thought of burning forces to the surface the most troubling questions of all: "Do I qualify for heaven? Will God let me in? Why would God let me in?"
You may try to answer these questions with bluff and bluster: "I'm really not so bad. I'm certainly not as bad as others are, or as I could have been." Ah, yes, you have been trying to be good, but have you been good enough? Your conscience will never let you say that you have fully measured up to even your own (low) standards, much less God's far higher ones.
Realize that you need someone to save you. It may hurt to admit it, but none of us have the power to rise to heaven on our own, nor do any of us have the moral character to qualify us for being raised up there by God. But don't think that all is lost! There is Someone who wants to save us; Someone who has the power to get us there; Someone who can "bend the rules" so that we can be allowed to enter in. Who is the heaven-sent Someone? His Name is Jesus Christ and He is fully empowered and qualified by Father God to get anyone to heaven who wants to be saved by Him. So, what are you waiting for? Take the next step!
Go to that “Someone” and get saved
Father, my eyes are open! I can see that I am going to die one day and I sure don’t want to end up in the wrong place. But I have to admit that I don’t have the moral purity and perfection to be assured of making it to heaven on my own. Thank You for seeing my need of Your saving help long before I did! Thank You for making me aware of an even greater need and desire—to know You. Please don’t let me “sleep walk” through the rest of my life, missing out on the greatest gift life has to offer, a living, loving relationship with my God! Lead me now into the steps I need to take and the prayers I need to make. I am ready to give myself to You!
On to the Next Question!
How can I get saved? This is the best part! And it is a surprisingly easy step to take—if you are willing to take it. The hard part is all that it took to get you ready and make you willing to be open to a moment like this…
Scriptures and Foot Notes But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14
 “Getting saved” is the essential first step into eternal life and it is incredibly easy; How can I stay saved? will come later. Don't miss it!
 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:13-14
 Asking "How can I get to heaven?" is a sign of heavenly wisdom rising in you. King Solomon advised us all to gain wisdom by facing death: The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth and sensual joy. Ecclesiastes 7:4 AMP
 For the wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23
 Peter, who was an eye-witness of the resurrection, declared Jesus to be the Savior of the whole world: “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:11-12