There are two options for where we go when we die—heaven or hell. The Bible tells us the choice is up to us.
At first, we don't have a choice—our destiny defaults to hell because of our sin. Romans 3:23 tells us, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." As a result, we are doomed to be separated from Him forever (Matthew 25:46; Revelation 20:14–15).
Because we all fail to live up to God's standard (holiness) and because He loves us so, God Himself has made a way to avoid the default of hell (John 3:16–18). Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." This is where a choice presents itself. Jesus Christ is both fully human and fully God (John 1:1; 8:58; 10:30). He came to earth to fulfill God's Law by living a sinless life (1 John 3:5), and then He became the necessary sacrifice for sin on our behalf (1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 Peter 1:18–19). Jesus died in your place, and mine. By doing so, God offers us the opportunity to accept that sacrifice on own behalf to avoid hell. This is a gift (Romans 6:23), and when we believe by faith (John 3:16–18; Ephesians 2:8–9) our sins no longer default us to hell. When a Philippian jailer asked "What must I do to be saved?", Paul and Silas "said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved" (Acts 16:30–31). Romans 10:9 says, "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." When we believe in Jesus' death and the power of His resurrection, and put our faith in Him, we essentially are choosing heaven, life with God after death on earth.
God initiates all this because He loves you and wants to spend eternity with you. He may be drawing you to believe in Jesus (John 6:44), by lifting the veil and healing your spiritual blindness (2 Corinthians 4:4). Come to Him and agree with Him about your deadness in your sin (Ephesians 2:1) and receive His life forever. The only other option is eternity in hell (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).
See, when we die, we continue to exist—either with God or without Him. Our destination parallels our choice on earth—with Him or without Him. If you still wonder how to live with Him today and forevermore, here's what to do: Simply tell Him in prayer that you agree about the separation from Him your sin has caused ("I have sinned and made choices that separate me from You, God"). Tell Him that you believe and accept the sacrifice Jesus made in your place ("Jesus took my place and His death should have been my own"). Accept this as your salvation ("I trust in Jesus for my salvation and believe in His resurrection in faith"). Ask Him for help in living a life of thanksgiving to Him for all of this and to live a life pleasing to Him ("God, thank you for making the way for me to spend eternity with You. I want to live in a way that pleases You. Help me to do that").
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