Question: Will God accept me into heaven even though my motive for becoming a Christian seems wrong? I just don’t want to die and go to hell.
Answer: That’s not necessarily the wrong motive!
Fear and desperation have been the starting points for many of us in talking with God and asking questions. When we are seeking answers to life’s questions, there is no dumb question. God WANTS to you ask so He can show you how much He loves you! Many people become believers as an “insurance policy” to avoid hell, and then they learn over time many very generous benefits come with that policy. That’s when we begin to feel His love, and our love for Him grows.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD… Jeremiah 29:11-14
I once read an account of a Chinese woman who was working in the fields, gathering crops, and watching her baby which slept nearby in the shade. Suddenly, a tiger appeared from the thick brush near the baby and began slowly creeping toward them. The woman was not a Christian but had heard the stories of Jesus from missionaries. As the animal quickened his steps, she grabbed the child and said, “Save me, Jesus!” The tiger turned and walked away from them! Often, we despair, feel hopeless, and cry out to God to intervene. The miraculous thing is, He does! Sometimes it’s immediate, and other times, He takes us down a path towards Him that He knows is exactly what we need.
You may not be staring death in the face, as the woman was, but you know that you need the help that only God can provide. The first step in becoming a believer, a follower of Jesus, is to admit that you cannot save yourself from punishment for your sins. If you are at this point, you have taken the important first step! You must admit you’ve sinned and put your trust in Jesus; know that He died on the cross to save you. How did this save you? God is holy and cannot accept sin; God is fair, and penalties must be paid. So that you and I would not have to pay the terrible debt for our sins, God sent Jesus into the world to suffer and die on the cross. Jesus’ own blood was given so that no other future sacrifice would ever need to be made to pay the price. When you have accepted this free gift from Jesus, God has wiped away ALL the records of your sins in the past, present, and future. To show God you really mean to change your life and live by His guidance, read and study the Bible to learn what God expects of you now that you are known as a Christ follower or “Christian”.
Remember the benefits for Christians I mentioned earlier? One of those is that, because Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after His death on the cross, we will have a new life after our death, also!
Jesus didn’t just say we’ll avoid hell by following Him; He called the place we’ll go immediately after our death, Paradise! Jesus definitely accepts death-bed conversions, but don’t wait too late. You may not have another opportunity.
One of the criminals who hung there [with Jesus on another cross nearby] heaped abuse on Him. “Are You not the Christ?” he said. “Save Yourself and us!” But the other man also being put to death rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same judgment? We are punished justly, for we are receiving what our actions deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” And Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:39-43
Will you invite Jesus into your life right now? Don’t put it off any longer!