(By CP Cartoonist Rod Anderson)
Some Christians know they are going to heaven. Other Christians are pretty sure they are going there. Many unbelievers, meanwhile, assume they are going to heaven, or they simply don't believe that heaven is even a real place. Try asking 20 Christians and 20 unbelievers about their hope for the afterlife. You will start to see the science behind the assurance of salvation. In other words, there is knowledge to be gained through the systematic study of their responses.
Religion is man's attempt to get to God and to heaven. Christianity is God coming down to man to save him by giving him a relationship with the Lord and one day bringing him to paradise. There is a consistent reality in those who profess faith in Jesus Christ. The ones who say they know they are going to heaven are the same ones who give Jesus all the credit for their eternal life in heaven.
They point to the cross. They point to the blood which Christ shed for them. They point to God's grace rather than to their efforts. They don't only believe they are going to heaven. They know they are going there. If you don't think that's true, try asking 20 Christians about their hope for heaven. This scientific evidence reveals the assurance which many believers enjoy.
St. John put it this way: "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life." (1 John 5:13) The first step is to recognize your sin and the Savior. The next step is to repent and believe the good news. Before long, you come to a place where you know that heaven is where you will spend eternity. God said it, and you believe it, and you know it will come to pass.
What about those believers who are only 75% sure that heaven is their home? Does that mean they don't really know Christ? Not at all. It just means they are not yet enjoying the assurance of their salvation. D. L. Moody said, "Faith is the root. Assurance is the flower." Every Christian was born again through faith by the power of the Holy Spirit. Without the root, there is no relationship with Christ. But not every Christian has the flower of assurance. They are not yet 100% sure that heaven is their home, even though their faith is in Christ alone to save them.
Matthew Henry said, "When I cannot feel the faith of assurance, I live by the fact of God's faithfulness." At the end of the day, only the immovable facts of Christ's death and resurrection can bring you personal peace and assurance that your sins are forgiven and heaven is your home. God earned your salvation at the cross, and He guaranteed it to you in His Word. That is, if you will accept His free gift by faith. (see John 1:12, Romans 5:15-17; Romans 6:23; 2 Cor. 9:15; Ephesians 2:8,9; Revelation 22:17)
Christianity isn't only about believing. It is also about living for Christ. Our works do not save us, but they are the fruit and the evidence that we know the Savior. Religion leads man to rely upon his efforts to save his soul. That approach never results in salvation, and therefore it can never provide an assurance of salvation. You end up always striving to jump through more hoops in an effort to save your soul. Christians, on the other hand, rely upon what Jesus did on the cross for our salvation.
"But wait a minute Dan. I knew someone who said he was a Christian, but he didn't live in a godly way." OK. So you knew a professing Christian. Let's say for a minute he wasn't really a Christian, but just a pretender. That in no way changes the fact that Jesus died for sinners, and there are millions of believers in the world who are not only "professing" Christians, but they are truly born again on the inside through faith in Christ. Their lives are filled with love for God and for others. (see 1 John 4:19-21) They are not perfect, but they are forgiven.
Would you like to know that heaven is your eternal home? If so, remember the science behind the assurance of salvation. Analyze what it is that those believers have which gives them this assurance. You will find that they have a simple trust in Jesus and His cross for their eternal salvation. They point to Christ. They trust in Christ alone. They place no confidence in their holy life as a means of reconciliation with God. This reconciliation only happens through the blood which Jesus shed for our sins.
If anything other than Christ's blood could save us or give us this assurance, do you really think God would have sent His only Son to go through what He went through for our salvation? Think about it. God would have never done that if we could save ourselves. (see Galatians 2:21) Only Jesus can redeem us, and only the Holy Spirit can give us the assurance of salvation as we stand in faith on the promises of God and the Word of God.
What are you standing on today? People rely upon different things in hopes of getting into heaven. The scientific results reveal their attitudes and their assurance or lack of assurance for heaven. Man's efforts simply cannot give a person assurance. Or at best, it can only give a false assurance. "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." (Proverbs 14:12)
God has never lied. It is impossible for Him to do so. (Hebrews 6:18) When He says that "everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved," (Romans 10:13) He means it. You will either believe that, or not. And if you believe it, you will either have the assurance of your salvation, or not. The science behind these various outcomes is consistent across the religious landscape and over the centuries. It doesn't change, even though new religions regularly pop up offering more spiritual options.
The way to be sure you are going to heaven is to trust in Jesus, and then to place all confidence in God's objective promises and no confidence in your subjective feelings, emotions, opinions, and hunches. The science behind the assurance of salvation is similar to the science behind religious doubt. The fruit is there for the picking. All you have to do is ask people what they believe and then listen to them tell you the basis of their hope, or the basis of their doubt. It's that simple. It's science. That is, knowledge gained by systematic study.
You should seriously consider these scientific results, especially since it involves something as critical as where you will spend eternity. Is there anything else you will care about 60 years from now? You are not getting any younger, and yet, your soul isn't aging because it is immortal. No wonder you still feel as young today as you did 25 years ago. I suspect there is plenty of science to support that reality among human beings as well.