One of the questions I have had many times in my experience as a Christian is, "Am I sure I will go to heaven?" A little context might help here...see, I grew up in a Christian home, I've been going to church as long as I can remember. I was ‘saved’ and baptized at an early age, went to Sunday school every week, went to Bible College, Seminary, and have been serving in ministry for over half my life. Basically, I feel confident that I 'know' a lot of stuff about faith, church, and the Bible. Even still, there have been times where I wondered, "Am I sure I will go to heaven?"
I am sure the Devil plants seeds of doubt in all of us, and, in these times of uncertainty and since feelings change like the weather, we need to turn to what we 'know' to be true.
One of the early followers of Jesus, whose life was dramatically changed because of what he saw, heard, felt, and touched, basically 'knew,' as it pertains to the Lord Jesus Christ, wrote a gospel and three letters, which are part of the Bible, for the very reason..."that we may know!” His name was John.
If you were to read his writings, the Gospel of John and the First, Second, and Third Epistles of John, you would notice that he wants us to 'know' because he uses that word two, three and four times as much compared to the other gospel writers and over 30 times in his short letters. He plainly says, "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life."
He tells us many ways we can know, such as our abiding in Christ, our walking in the light vs. darkness, the way we love God and others, and many more, which are worthy of our intent study, but one specifically he mentions is if we 'keep the commands' of God, we can know!
So, how is your 'obedience factor?' Would you characterize your 'following of Jesus' as obedient or disobedient? Keep in mind there are always areas of our lives that we are growing in obedience. Just because you disobey and commit a sin does not mean you are not saved, just like it does not mean that a child who disobeys his parents is no longer their child! The key is, what is the pattern of your life or what is the overall characteristic?
A mark of a follower of Jesus is obedience! Jesus himself expectantly asked, "Why do you call me Lord and not do what I say?" Obedience is required as the 'pattern' of our lives. So the next time you are tempted to doubt or wonder if you'll go to heaven, just ask some honest questions about your love for God and others, or your abiding in Christ, or your faithful fight against sin. Turn to John and read his writings. He wrote them from his own experience as one of the 12 disciples so that...you, and me, may know!