As for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.

—Revelation 21:8

The holy God justly sentences sinners to an eternally burning lake of fire. This is the teaching of the Bible. You must believe this. Many do not and have not believed it — to their eternal peril.

This was Jesus’ teaching. You cannot believe in Jesus but deny this reality. He said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). But this is the whole reason Jesus came to earth. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).

Jesus did everything necessary for the worst sinners to go to heaven. He lived the kind of life that is worthy of heaven. He never sinned in any way. He always did the will of God. He loved God with all of his heart, soul and mind. He loved his neighbor as himself.

And God accepts Jesus’ life in the place of every sinner who believes in Jesus (Romans 5:19). Furthermore, though He never sinned, Jesus suffered God’s punishment on the cross because of sin. God accepts Jesus’ punishment on the cross in the place of every sinner who believes in Jesus (1 Peter 3:18). Then, Jesus bodily arose from the dead and is now in heaven constantly advocating and making intercession for all those who believe in Him (1 John 2:1).

So, “being justified by faith we have peace with God” (Romans 8:1). “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works” (Ephesians 2:8-9). “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:16-18).

You may go to heaven, whoever you are and whatever you have done. You will be saved this very instant, completely forgiven of your sins, rescued from the certain fate of the lake of fire, and will ultimately go to heaven, if you put your faith in Jesus Christ.

But you will only be saved if you place your faith in Jesus Christ alone. If you rely in any way on anything else, or if you add any kind of personal good works of any kind to the work of Christ, you will justly perish.

Mark Judy is pastor of Hancock Reformed Baptist Church. He holds master of divinity and doctor of ministry degrees. This weekly column is written by local clergy members.