A few years ago, my wife and I drove into the parking lot of a shopping mall. When I tried to open my door to get out of the car, I found it blocked by an elderly lady in a white coat, whom I did not know. I rolled the window down and asked her if I could help her in some way. The lady then launched into a religious discussion. After listening to her for a while, I asked her if, since she was talking about her religion, if she knew for sure that she was going to heaven when she died. She quickly replied that nobody could know that until death. I replied, “Then you don’t believe the Bible?” To this she responded, “I certainly do.” I then reached into the glove compartment of my car and read her three verses from my New Testament. As she backed away, she said, “It doesn’t mean that and quickly went on her way.
I’ve thought much about that over the years, as I’ve heard that same view expressed by many, many people. As a matter of fact, I suspect it is a view held by the majority- that nobody really knows in this life, if he or she will make it to heaven, and that those who tell us they do know for sure are self-righteous and have a “holier than- thou” attitude.
Are they correct? Is it really not possible to know, in this life that we have a home in heaven awaiting us? I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that we can know, here and now where we are going in the next life.
I can imagine someone saying, “Well you have a right to your opinion, and I don’t happen to agree with you.” Correct- we all have a right to our own opinion. And if determining the truth is based on “opinion” we will never know. However, if determining the truth is based on the only authentic source for truth- the Bible, God’s inspired Word, then we can know, because the Bible is crystal clear on this subject.
However, if you and I claim to believe that the Bible in its original manuscripts is the truth, then when we find out what the Bible actually says about a subject we will know the truth. And Jesus said, “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God…” (John 7:17) He also said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” (John 8:32) Admittedly, there are subjects in the Bible over which good people disagree, and which can be difficult to understand. But the matter of knowing for sure that you have a heavenly home waiting for you, is not one of those subjects.
The truth I was trying to convey to that dear lady who stood by my car that day is easily understood and nobody needs to misunderstand what God is saying to us. I had read to her from I John 5:11-13 which says, “And this is the testimony that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life: he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the same of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life….”
We may ask then, since the Bible is so clear about knowing for sure that we have eternal life, why do so many people not get it and reject it as a possibility? I believe the answer is that many are depending on their good works, their religion, or something else that they do, to take them to heaven. And since we can never know if we have been good enough if we depend on our good works, the only conclusion we can come to, like the lady who stood by my automobile that day is, that you can’t know until death. But sadly, that will be too late.