Doctor & Patient
As a physician for thirty-three years, I always advised my patients to schedule yearly physicals. Although most people were found to be in excellent health, I would often be called to the emergency room to treat one of them for a medical emergency. These patients were often fearful and apprehensive, with thoughts of death uppermost on their minds.
When the patient’s vital signs were stabilized and a provisional diagnosis established, I would ask a pointed question. “If you were to die unexpectedly, do you know for certain that you would enter heaven?” Some patients would answer, “Yes, I know so. I have personally trusted Jesus Christ.” But the more typical answer was, “I hope so Doc...at least...I think so. I live a moral life, do good deeds, pay my bills and go to church on Christmas and Easter...” Sensing my patient’s lack of certainty, my next question would be, “Would you like to know for CERTAIN that you will enter heaven when you die?”
“Doc, I definitely would. No one has shared with me how to prepare to enter heaven.”
God & Us
Physicians refer to medical textbooks, written by medical authorities, to guide them in making correct diagnoses and prescribing proper treatments. The rest of us also have a Guidebook. God, the world’s ultimate authority, has given us the Bible to guide us today and to explain how we can prepare to enter heaven. The Bible declares that all men and women suffer from a fatal spiritual condition. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God...[and] The wages of sin is death” (Romans 3:23, 6:23a). A diabetic person must seek medical care to stay alive. Our sinful condition is much like diabetes...it’s fatal...and we must find the cure or we will die spiritually.
Fortunately, God has provided us with such a cure through His Son. The Bible announces, “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23b). God sent His own Son, Jesus Christ, to shed His blood and die on the cross to cleanse us from our past and present sin. The Bible tells us, “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). In addition, Jesus Christ rose from the dead to prove that He paid the complete penalty for our sin. “Just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, [so] we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:4b).
God & You
The next step is yours. To belong to God’s family, you must trust and accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. If you will, by faith, call upon Jesus Christ, you will be saved. The Bible describes this step of faith in Romans 10:10, 12, 13; “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” Notice the word “everyone.” It excludes no one. You can know for certain, right NOW, that you are prepared to meet God in heaven when you die. The Bible says, “NOW is the time of God’s favor, NOW is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2). God wants to give you eternal life. If you accept Jesus Christ, you’ll have an answer to the question of heaven. You’ll no longer need to meekly reply “I hope so” or “I think so.” Now you can boldly proclaim...“I know so!”
Pray the following prayer:
I admit that I am a sinner. I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ, died and rose again and has forgiven me of all my sins. I personally call upon You in faith to trust and accept Your Son, Jesus Christ, as my Savior. Thank You for giving me peace with You right now and the gift of eternal life in heaven. Amen.
If you honestly and sincerely prayed this prayer, you can now say with confidence:
1. I KNOW I have eternal life, based on the authority of God’s Word! “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).
2. I KNOW I have peace with God! “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
3. I KNOW I have passed from spiritual death into spiritual life! “Whoever hears My word and believes Him Who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24).
Here are some suggestions to help you grow in your new relationship with God:
• Immediately tell someone close to you of your decision and new-found faith in Jesus Christ.
• Read God’s Word, the Bible, every day. God will teach you how to live an abundant life.
• Pray often. You are communicating with God.
• Seek Christian fellowship in a Bible-believing church.
• Memorize verses from the Bible.
C.A. VanAndel, DO If you would like additional help as you begin the Christian life, just write to the address given below.
The author, Dr. VanAndel, did his undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan and is a graduate of the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine. He is an honorary member of the American College of Osteopathic Internists and a diplomat of the Osteopathic Board of Nuclear Medicine. He was in active practice and served as a consultant in the Department of Internal Medicine at Mercy General Hospital in Muskegon, Michigan.
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