I would ask that you perform a test, if you will, on those you know and love, on those who profess to serve the Lord Jesus Christ, even unto the denying of self to the glory of God the Father.
Politely, in love, with compassion for them in your heart, ask them this question, “Are you going to heaven after you die.”
“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (2nd Cor. 5:8)
I would pray that you would hear them say, “Yes, of course, why do you ask?” but I fear with some their reply will be, “I hope so.”
The promises of the Lord are never responded to in any circumstance with those words, if He has said so, it will happen.
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (James 1:5)
Ask for wisdom and you will receive wisdom, not all wisdom all at once, but you will begin to notice an understanding of certain things that you had no concept of over time.
The heart of flesh He has blessed you with still finds pieces of stone surrounding it, and will until you are glorified, nevertheless, more and more of those stony pieces will be dissolved as He draws you nearer to Himself, and love and compassion will replace pride, envy and strife.
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:” (Matt. 7:7)
Not you might find, not it might be answered, it will, the promises are true.
Every works-based religious cult will find caveats to Romans 10:9, they will attempt to deceive, to keep those who follow them in bondage. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” They hate, though they will not use that word, John 6:47, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.”
“I hope so” is not the assurance of salvation, it is disbelief in the promises, it is a denying of the truth, and all who say these words do not possess the firm foundation of Him who spoke the promises. There is something else they are resting on besides the Rock of our salvation, and they stand there unbalanced, shaking, unsure.
And that is the purpose of the question you must ask.
This short letter is for those who answered “Yes,” to those who have studied to show themselves approved, who can, if they hear a reply of “I hope so” from the one they are speaking to, can guide them to the promises, to the knowledge of the eternal assurance and away from that doubt they call hope.
“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:” (Job 19:25)
To those of you who are still hoping, I speak to with love, but in firm truth, why? Why do you not trust the Lord in this regard, why do you doubt? Has He ever left you or forsaken you? Has He not proven Himself faithful in countless ways and in countless times? Is your heart not changed, do you not know and even feel His love, His eternal love for you?
Has He ever failed you?
If He is not leading you to that strait gate, then where is He leading you to?
“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)” (Heb. 10:23)
My brothers and sisters in Christ, if the one you are speaking to says “I hope so,” you have a task to complete, and before you rush out to begin this task, you must hold the promises in your heart, you must know the Scripture verses that will lead that person from the path of doubt to the halls of the Kingdom of the Most High God.
There is no assurance where there is doubt, the promises are not fully believed if they are only hoped for.
Perfect love, His perfect love for us, rests in the truth of all His promises.