The second chapter of Ephesians explains how to get to heaven.
Once, it says, we were all sinners, full of trespasses and sins; children of disobedience, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and the mind; by nature children of wrath. Despite what we think, nothing to commend us at all. But God so loved us that He sent His Son to die to pay the price for our salvation.
There's nothing we can do to earn it, or make ourselves fit to receive it. Because Jesus paid the price in full, there's nothing that we can add. It's a gift. It's the product of grace - God's undeserved favour. It's received simply through faith. We need to believe it and receive it. Until we do, we don't have it.
When we come to Christ, a divine exchange takes place. He takes our sin, and gives us His righteousness. We are His workmanship, Ephesians says, created in Christ Jesus for good works.
But didn't we say there was nothing we could do? Ah, nothing we could do to add to the price He paid for our salvation. After we receive Him we will do good works. Good works are the proof of our faith.
Here's something beautiful. It says we are created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. God doesn't just leave us hanging. He has a place for us in His kingdom. He has a plan and a purpose for our lives. There is something that only you can do, and a gift of grace for you to enable you to do it.
So how shall we know what it is that God has for us to do? William MacDonald says that in order to find out the good works that God has planned for our individual lives, we should
1. Confess and forsake sin as soon as we are conscious of it in our lives;
2. Be continually and unconditionally yielded to Him;
3. Study the word of God to discern His will, and then do whatever He tells us to do;
4. Spend time in prayer each day;
5. Seize opportunities of service as they arise;
6. Cultivate the fellowship and counsel of other Christians.
How are we doing?