GOING TO HELL? It may be easier than you think


(It May Be Easier Than You Think)

The preachers said, “Everybody close your eyes. Nobody looking around. If you want to be saved today, just raise up your hand and put it right back down. I see that hand. I see that hand too. Anyone else? (after a short pause). Okay, pray this prayer after me, ‘I am a sinner. I confess my sins and turn away from them. I will follow Jesus and obey Him from this day forward. Amen’. Congratulations, you are now part of the family of God. Pick up some free literature we have for you and meet me up here for a few minutes so we can talk.”

How could it be easier?

I heard a well-known and beloved pastor speak on being ‘saved by grace through faith in Christ’. He used the example of the thief on the cross, next to Jesus at His crucifixion. He mocked the idea that anyone need to know anything more than Jesus to be saved. But he neglected to emphasize the difficult conditions for the thief that brought him to his spiritual senses. He was at death’s door, hanging publicly on a crucifixion cross. It is true that he could have chosen to die and perish. But his circumstances were a world away from sitting in the comfortable church pew. He was clear in his mind that he was face-to-face with eternity as he made his choice. The fact that others saw him publicly make his choice meant nothing to him. His life and eternity were on the line.

It is absolutely true that one is ‘saved by God’s Grace through their faith in Jesus’, but the road to that truth, to that reality, is often paved with difficulties of trials and great tribulation. And the cost was, is and continues to be a supreme factor.

Jesus, the Son of God, God Himself, gave up His life so you could live free from the effects of sin, condemnation and shame.

The price of this salvation is that you surrender your life to Jesus, in return – no matter how shattered or how secure your life is, you must surrender all you know, all you have and all that you are to enter into this most sacred covenantal relationship with God – and to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

You must follow and obey Him, reaching and teaching others to do the same.

It can be a little more difficult to see your own mortality and the urgency of preparing for an eternity when you are sitting in a safe, comfortable church than having been tortured and left hanging on a pole, to die. And it is made even more questionable when the pastor urges you to ‘keep it a secret’.


The Bible says, “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART” – that is, the word [the message, the basis] of faith which we preach– because if you acknowledge and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord [recognizing His power, authority, and majesty as God], and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart a person believes [in Christ as Savior] resulting in his justification [that is, being made righteous–being freed of the guilt of sin and made acceptable to God]; and with the mouth he acknowledges and confesses [his faith openly], resulting in and confirming [his] salvation.

“For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM [whoever adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Him] WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED [in his expectations].” For there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile; for the same Lord is Lord over all [of us], and [He is] abounding in riches (blessings) for all who call on Him [in faith and prayer]. For “WHOEVER CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD [in prayer] WILL BE SAVED.”

Notice in each of the Biblical examples of salvation, all were public in nature; all were in difficult circumstances; each admitted their inability to save themselves; they repented of their current life and confessed and believed in Jesus.

  1. The salvation of Zacchaeus

Jesus Christ entered Jericho and was passing through. And behold, there was a man called Zacchaeus. He was a rich chief tax collector. And he wanted to see who Jesus was, but because of the crowd, he could not, for he was small in stature. So, Zacchaeus ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree (very public) to see him, for he was about to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up, saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So, he hurriedly came down and received him with joy. And when the Jews saw it, they all grumbled (gladly endured or ignored ridicule), “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to Jesus, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” (repented of his former life and paid a price) And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:1-10)

  1. The salvation of the criminal on the cross

Two others, who were criminals, were led away (faced with the reality of death and eternity) to be put to death with Jesus. And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there the Roman soldiers crucified Him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. One of the criminals who were on the cross railed at Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him and said, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; (confessed his sins, publicly) but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he also added, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom (called on Jesus).” And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:32-43)

  1. The salvation of the jailor

While in prison, about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, such that the foundations of the prison were shaken, and all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself (The jailer came face-to-face with his fate), supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved? (The jailer made his choice of either death or of life)” And they answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of God to him and to all who were in his house. And he took Paul and Silas the same hour of the night and washed their wounds, and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and gave them food. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God. (Acts 16:25-34)

  1. The salvation of Sergius Paulus

So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, Barnabas and Paul went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they preached God’s word in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them. When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they found a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet called Bar-Jesus. He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who invited Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas (Bar-Jesus) the magician opposed them, trying to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said to him, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking someone to lead him by the hand.(he paid a price; made a choice) Then the proconsul believed in Jesus, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the word of God. (Acts 13:4-12)

  1. The salvation of Saul of Tarsus (Paul)

Saul was a Judaizer who was hell-bent on persecuting the disciples of Jesus Christ. His passion was to keep the Mosaic law and make sure no other way of worship contends with it.

Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord [and relentless in his search for believers], went to the high priest, and he asked for letters [of authority] from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any men or women there belonging to the Way [believers, followers of Jesus the Messiah], men and women alike, he could arrest them and bring them bound [with chains] to Jerusalem.

As he traveled he approached Damascus (Very Public), and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him [displaying the glory and majesty of Christ]; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice [from heaven] saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting and oppressing Me?” And Saul said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He answered, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” The men who were traveling with him [were terrified and] stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul got up from the ground, but though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; (Saul paid a price) so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And he was unable to see for three days, and he neither ate nor drank.

Now in Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he answered, “Here I am, Lord.” And the Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul; for he is praying [there], and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come in and place his hands on him, so that he may regain his sight.” But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many people about this man, especially how much suffering and evil he has brought on Your saints (God’s people) at Jerusalem; and here [in Damascus] he has authority from the high priests to put in chains all who call on Your name [confessing You as Savior].”

But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is a [deliberately] chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will make clear to him how much he must suffer and endure for My name’s sake.” So, Ananias left and entered the house, and he laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came [to Damascus], has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit [in order to proclaim Christ to both Jews and Gentiles]. (Saul repented of his old life) ” Immediately something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized; and he took some food and was strengthened.

Your experience may differ, you may escape the torture of a criminal’s crucifixion, the ignominy of climbing a tree in public to see Christ, or being struck blind by the Light of God, but the cost of such a great salvation is always the same:

Being saved is a public covenant with God.

Being saved requires coming to grips with sins and your mortality.

Being saved requires forsaking your old life and humble submission to God through faith in Jesus.

Being saved requires you confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior, publicly.

Being saved requires that you follow Jesus in humble obedience.

(‘Slipping you hand up and right back down’ in secret, probably won’t get it done.)

Nothing in life or death which is cheap or easy carries any lasting value. And, there is nothing easy or cheap our God’s grace and offer of freedom through salvation which comes from your faith in Jesus’ Work on the cross, on your behalf.

God’s Salvation is the greatest Gift of all times. It is of inestimable value – and it is free to all who will accept it.

Let’s pray for one another as we go, and make disciples in Jesus Name, teaching them to do all He has taught us, and baptizing them in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – AMEN!

Your Brother and Friend,

Mike Young

More reading: How Can I Get Into Heaven? “Drive-through salvation and spiritual fast foods won’t work!”

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