From the author: Whatever the average person's concept of heaven might be surely the guarantee of attaining it is everyone's innate desire. Is the true heaven every person's destiny? It can be, for God has provided the way, paying a huge and horrendous price to make it possible. Such is his love. The purpose of this book is to explain how anyone can come into the glorious reward God has for those who choose to enter in. You see, not only can heaven be our perfect destination, even the journey promises to be incredible. Some excerpts:
“It was September 27, 1974. I was in my cell, locked in for the night. Everything was quiet. The thoughts tumbled over and over in my mind – about Bruce and the changes in my life, about the huge amount of sins I continued to see in front of me when I closed my eyes, about my ghastly crimes against humanity. I even thought about the little green room, the gas chamber, where I expected to end my life. ‘I deserved to die there,’ I whispered.
“After several minutes of silence in the dark, a new sentence formed on my lips – an entirely new spoken idea for me. “I want to be forgiven,’ I said, barely, audibly. The thought burned into me, refusing to leave.
“Can society forgive me for such acts against humanity? Can it take this guilt off my shoulders? Can serving the rest of my life in prison undo what’s been done? Can anything be done?”
From various chapters:
What’s So Great About Heaven?
Heaven Bound. Even the statement is pretty audacious, assuming there is such a place, and I can go there. The Bible says “yes” to both.
Opinions, however, run the gamut.
“Heaven? It’s only a myth. When you die, you die. It’s all over.”
“Of course I’m going to heaven. I’m no sinner. I’m no murderer; and besides, He’s a loving God. He’d never send me to hell.”
“Well, I sure hope so. Certainly my good deeds outweigh my bad. I’m not perfect, but I’ve lived a pretty good life.”
“Why certainly I am. I haven’t gone to church all my life for nothing.”
“Sure I’m going to heaven. Isn’t everybody?”
Sadly, none of the above got it right. The essential purpose of this book is to go to the Bible, which is God’s word, for only from this source can we get it right.
A Necessary Foundation
Every building must be built on a solid foundation if it is to endure. Equally so, a book such as this must be based on a proper premise, a presumptive basis if it’s to have any worth. That premise is the validity of the Bible.
The Bible is God’s Word, as it often will be referred to in this book, His “written Word.” Jesus is the “living Word” (John 1:1).
As the Constitution of the United States is the standard upon which our nation was founded, the foundation upon which it is governed, so is the Bible the standard upon which Christianity is based. Christianity comes from nothing else, for the Word of God is the criterion, the yardstick.
The Glory of Grace
One might ask what is the difference in grace and mercy. Mercy is compassion, kindness, beneficence. And some dictionaries will include grace in the definition of mercy. But in the biblical sense there’s a great difference…. “Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is getting what we don’t deserve.”
“Nicodemus, if you’re interested in what I’m doing, if you’re really interested, you might as well know from the beginning that you’ve got to start from scratch. You can’t inch your way into it. You can’t make a few alterations here and there. You can’t do it by making minor repairs or even major ones. You can’t do it by amendments to the Constitution. It must be a completely restructured life. You must be born again.”
“Who Do You Say That I Am?”
No one has the comfort of seeking neutral ground in answering this question. Either we believe Him to be Who He claimed to be or we do not. It’s that simple. If Jesus’ claims are invalid He has sent generations of gullible followers to a hopeless eternity. If His claims are valid, and we accept them, if we repent of our sins and simply say “yes” to Jesus by believing in and receiving Him, then absolutely we enter into the “abundant life,” one filled to overflowing with joy and victory today.
It’s true. God became like us, that we might become like Him.
A Personal Prayer
(If you prayed that prayer) You are now a “babe in Christ,” or as I recall someone saying, you’re at the “infinitesimal minimum.” A whole new world is opening up to you, and it is imperative that you, like a newborn baby, grow into an adult, mature in Christ.
(Attempt to answer five basic questions any new believer might have: Feelings?, Paradise Lost?, Doubts? Anger?, Problems?)
(Purpose: offer thoughts on twelve critical topics in the life of a new Christian: The Sin Tendency, Our Enemy, Prayer, Read the Word, Fellowship, Faith through Works, Giving, The Race, “The Love Test,” Humility, Go and Tell, “It Is Finished.” I preface it with:)
Let me add at the outset that everyone may not come to the same conclusions. Admittedly no one has a “corner on the whole truth,” for as we just read there are many areas in which we are still “squinting in a fog, peering through a mist” (The Message).
The final paragraph:
How gloriously wonderful to be Heaven Bound, totally assured that my destination is perfect, my journey ongoing, incredible. Jesus died for me… and for you. It is finished. It is complete. Could there be anything of greater worth? It totally takes away the fear of death. And it lasts forever.