I've quoted the following verse many times, but it never hurts to hear it again. Jesus said it this way: "Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to me as 'Lord,' but they still won't enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey my Father in heaven." (Matthew 7:21 NLT ed. 1)

That's a pretty tough statement about what God expects of us, isn't it? It also tells us that many people really won't end up where they think they are going. I like the following little story that I think applies well here.

At our local crematorium families are given the chance to chose the music CD they would like to enter the service to. One family asked to enter the service to "Love me Tender."

Well, the day of the funeral arrived and the music was ready to start for the family to walk in to the service. Unfortunately, the wrong track number was entered into the CD player, and the family found themselves walking in to "Return to Sender, address unknown, no such number, no such zone."

Unfortunately, many people may find themselves in the same situation, going someplace other than where they thought, because they have the wrong address on them.

Do you only hope you are?
It is possible to make sure you get to the right place and it's really not that hard to know for sure. The book of 1 John is one of my favorite books because it is a book of assurances. John writes: "And how can we be sure that we belong to him? By obeying his commandments." (1 John 2:3 NLT ed. 1) John follows this later with an even stronger statement of assurance, yet it seems one which is harder for some to believe: "I write this to you who believe in the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life." (1 John 5:13)

It's interesting that most of the time when we ask someone if they are going to heaven the answer is, "I hope I am." John says, "I'm writing these things for one purpose, so that you may KNOW you have eternal life," (Russ' paraphrase) It's also interesting that the word for "know" used in the original language means to have an inner knowledge or understanding based upon facts revealed to us — "to have seen or perceived, hence to know." (Strong's Dictionary of N.T. Words)

So, do you know you are going to heaven or do you only hope you are? Our understanding makes a pretty big difference in how we live our daily lives, doesn't it? Are you walking in hope or are you walking in doubt? Spend a little time with 1 John and let it help you know for sure.