First Things First

What can I do?” is the immediate thought of most people when the question of going to heaven is raised.
If someone asked you about salvation and the way to heaven, would your answer be, “We each have to do our very best”? Then, if you were asked for something specific, would your list include being a good parent, attending church regularly, being honest, helping others, and any number of other requirements most people assume are on God’s checklist?
Now, if I tell you that you’re wrong, will you become angry and throw this tract away? There is a right answer to the question, “How can I get to heaven?” No doubt good works are a necessary part of the Christian life, but according to what God tells us, good works don’t come first.
When you were taught the alphabet, you learned the letters in their correct order. The letter D is in the alphabet, but its place is fourth, not first. In Matthew 18:3, Jesus says, “Except ye … become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Following His instruction to learn as a little child, you must begin with God’s A, B and C and not put D at the beginning.

“All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Read no further until you accept the fact that what God says is true and that each of us is a sinner in His eyes. But He doesn’t just give up on us because we are sinners; He loves us too much for that. He has a remedy for sinners, and it is explained under the letter B.
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).
No one can claim they have salvation until they truly believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. If you will trust Christ for salvation and Him only, that is all that is necessary — salvation is yours! The letter C explains the wonderful work He did to provide salvation for you.
“Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).
If you acknowledge that you are a sinner according to A and if you believe on Christ according to B, C tells you that Christ has already suffered for your sins. You committed the sins; Christ bore the punishment in your place. Now God can give you — not the punishment, which Christ has already completely exhausted — but His gift of salvation, which is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
That’s how you can be sure you will spend eternity in heaven. Now, are you going to just forget about what you’ve read here and go on as before — without God and without heaven for your future? Or will you give this matter serious consideration and believe God’s A‑B‑C? It is God’s way of salvation and the only way to have a guaranteed future in heaven.
The matter of doing good works has not come up so far, because Christ has done it all. All that is necessary for your salvation has been completed, and you may simply rest on what He has already done. The moment you trust in Him for salvation, you are saved from your sins and assured of spending eternity in heaven.
Up to this point, there has been no mention of the fourth-place letter — D. This comes after you have understood and obeyed the first three letters.
Finally — “DOING”
The following verse applies to those who, by faith, have received God’s salvation: “We are … created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
The doing part comes last, as the result of your having received eternal life. You can never receive eternal life by earning it; the good works now prove that you really possess it.
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Perfectly Prepared

As Prepared as Humanly Possible
“I’ve done all I can; now it is up to you” (Dwight D. Eisenhower to Capt. Johnson of the 101st Airborne, June 5, 1944, 7 p.m., England).

In late May 1944, the naval vessels were being loaded for the vast invasion of the Normandy coast. Winston Churchill, prime minister of England, wanted to go but King George VI forced him to sit home. Eisenhower and all the other top staff had to stay home with him.
But 101st Airborne Lt. Richard Winters took off in his C-47 transport. Ten seconds later another C-47 lifted off, ten seconds later another and another until the air was black with them. When the last one lifted off, Eisenhower’s eyes were glistening with tears. “Well, it’s on,” he said softly as he turned away and headed for his cottage.
In a manger outside of Bethlehem, the Creator of the universe reached the front line of the combat with sin. He wasn’t too valuable to risk losing, too old to go, too afraid to die. He had full authority to stay home, but love led Him to become a man and enter His creation. “Thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
At 12:01 a.m. on June 6, D-Day, Lt. Richard Winters of the 101st Airborne was winging through the darkness toward Normandy. The whole flight over he prayed he’d live and wouldn’t fail. Before his boots hit French soil, he’d be more than 5 miles from his objective and his commanding officer would be dead. Outnumbered almost 5 to 1, Winters, with only one light mortar, two light machine guns, two submachine guns and five rifles, found his objective and attacked immediately. Some of the courage came from the fact they had no idea what they were heading into. This was their first combat experience. As one man said, “I was sure I would not be killed. I felt that if a bullet was headed for me, it would be deflected.” He would never take those chances again.

Perfect Knowledge, Perfect Work
But Jesus Christ knew exactly what He was headed into when He became a Man on the front line. Facing the Roman commander Pilate, who was about to unjustly condemn Him to death, Jesus said, “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth” (John 18:37). His wasn’t the courage of a mere man fighting for a great cause. Jesus Christ was about to carry out the unmatched masterstroke of love and sacrifice to honor God and put away sin.
At 8:30 a.m. Lt. Winters personally led a quick flanking attack, while some of his men provided suppression fire with the machine guns and mortars. In the heavy fighting, Winters’ men suffered severe casualties, including 4 men killed. By the end, the four huge 105 mm artillery pieces aimed at the American landing force lay in ruins and the surviving paratroopers withdrew. Hours later two Sherman tanks would finish the job of clearing out the position.
Just outside Jerusalem after darkness had covered the hill of Golgotha for three hours in the middle of the day, Jesus cried out from the cross, “It is finished: and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost” (John 19:30). The full job of suffering the penalty for sin from a holy God had been completed. No one was required to come and finish the job for Him. Instead He holds out an invitation to all who will believe on Him and His work. Now He offers a just forgiveness for sin to all who will believe on Him as their only escape from the horrible penalty for rebellion against God. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
At midnight on D-Day, Lt. Winters wrote in his diary that he “did not forget to get on my knees and thank God for helping me to live through this day.” Will you bow your heart in submission to God? “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” (Romans 10:9). You can simply thank the Lord Jesus for what He’s done for you. Or, like too many on D-Day, you can assume there’s no great personal danger and let your conscience go back to sleep. Are you perfectly prepared with God’s salvation through faith in Christ Jesus or neglecting it and heading into the blackness of eternity trusting in your own good effort?

Christ Is Coming

Sit Thou at My right hand until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool” (Psalm 110:1). God the Father spoke these words to His beloved Son as He entered heaven with the marks of the world’s hatred on His blessed person.
Nearly 2,000 years have come and gone since then, and time, with lightning speed, rushes us toward that awful moment when the Son will rise up in unopposed power to fulfill the Father’s decree. Christ will come and will make His enemies His footstool! Are your sins washed away in His blood? If so, you are His friend. If not, you are His enemy. When He comes in power and great glory, it will be to send His enemies into everlasting punishment (Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 19:11-21). Oh, the panic and terror of those still in their sins at that coming!
The coming of the Man whom the world once crucified, whose love is still treated with disdain and disrespect and whose blood is even treated with self-righteous indifference, will bring all men to their knees. Men who never prayed before will then, in their soul’s deep terror, cry to the rocks and to the mountains, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that [sits] on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:16-17). Hopeless, useless prayer! The Lamb’s arm of judgment then will reach all who would not take salvation from His hand of love. Self-gratification, extravagance and the thoughtless pursuits of wealth and entertainment will end forever. An eternity of hopelessness, remorse, weeping and wailing will be the replacement for these poor victims of the devil.
Then the world’s pleasures and business, which all too often shut out God and leave men no time to think of their soul’s deep need, will be suspended forever. The world’s boasted progress will be halted forever, and man in his foolish occupation of proud indifference to the claims of God will be brought face to face with Him whom God has established as Judge of all.
Christ is coming, and one of two things will happen to you when He comes: You will be either caught up to be forever with Him or left behind for judgment. As you are reading this, right now before this terrible day of judgment, if Christ were to come this moment, would you rise to meet Him (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)? Are you ready? Have your sins been washed away?

Will You Be one of Them?
Jesus said, “As it was in the days of [Noah], so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man.” How was it in the days of Noah? A world of sinners, ignoring God’s warnings and unprepared for His judgment, was in a moment swept away to eternal destruction by the terrible waters of God’s wrath. It will be comparable when Christ comes. Multitudes still in their sins will be unprepared and will be damned for all eternity. Will you be one of them?
The Bible warns us that men and women will be crying out for mercy, but no mercy will be found. Will you be one of them?
The masses who have heard the gospel of God’s love and grace and turned carelessly away will realize then that the day of grace is over, and their lost eternity is set forever. Will you be one of them?
Will You Be Ready?
Why are you waiting to make the decision to accept Christ’s love and mercy that He offers to you right now? He refuses no one who comes to Him, admitting the need to be cleansed from his sins. “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” If you will believe that Christ bore the punishment and died on the cross for your sins, He promises an eternity in heaven with Himself. “He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life” (John 6:47).
Christ’s offer of salvation is available today; it may not be available tomorrow. Today He lovingly pleads with you to “come unto Me … and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). If you will accept His offer right now, when He comes you will be ready!
“The blood of Jesus Christ His Son [cleanses] us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
“It is the blood that [makes]
an atonement for the soul”
(Leviticus 17:11).

A 4 Letter Religion

There is a big difference between your religion and mine,” a Christian lady said to a friend in their discussion of religious beliefs.“In what way?” he asked.
“Your religion has only two letters in it, and mine has four,” she replied.
It seems that this lady’s friend was someone who felt it was necessary to work his way into heaven. He faithfully followed the ordinances and ceremonies that his religion required in his attempt to be accepted by God into heaven at the end of his life. He was basing his acceptance on what the Bible calls “dead works.”
He did not understand the Christian lady’s reference to the two letters and the four letters, and so he asked, “What do you mean by two letters and four letters?”
“Let me explain,” said the lady. “Your religion is d‑o, two letters, a DO religion, whereas mine is d‑o‑n‑e, four letters, DONE!”
The discussion ended with that comment, and the lady went on her way. Her simple explanation remained in his thoughts, however, causing the man to do some serious soul-searching. As he considered the comparison of the two words, the difference became evident. He had been trying to follow rules and regulations devised and acceptable by man’s standards, but God offered forgiveness of sins through the work that Christ finished on the cross — Christianity.
The two letters and four letters was an unusual and original way of explaining the gospel, and it was very appropriate for this man who had been taught that he must follow strict religious laws in order to acquire the reward of heaven. He realized that he had been a legalist, hoping that keeping these laws would cancel his sin, whereas the Bible teaches that any works we do cannot cancel even one sin. “We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He [saves] us” (Titus 3:5).
The next time he saw his friend, he told her, “Now I can also say that my religion is d‑o‑n‑e, DONE.”
The Spirit of God had shown him that his religious deeds were worthless in removing his sins, but that all God required to settle the sin question was to accept the finished work of Christ. He understood that it was no longer a question of what he could do for God, but of what God’s Son had done for him.
The matter of his sins was settled. What a joy and relief it was for this man to know that what he had been striving and hoping for was already completely finished — DONE — almost 2000 years ago on the cross! Now he could look forward with certainty to an eternity in heaven.
Christ has finished all that God required. He has put away sin and satisfied the claims of divine justice. He has conquered Satan, taking the sting out of death. He has glorified God here on earth where He has been dishonored. He has brought in everlasting righteousness. All of this is included in these four letters: d‑o‑n‑e.
Will you exchange the deceptive belief and system of “doing” for the joy and Bible truth of Christ’s having already “done” what God requires?
Question: “What must I do to be saved?”
Answer: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 16:30‑31).
“By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8‑9).
Nothing either great or small,
Nothing, sinner, no;
Jesus did it, did it all,
Long, long ago.

Cast your deadly doings down,
Down at Jesus’ feet;
Stand in Him — in Him alone —
Gloriously complete.


Brownlow North lived for many years as an irresponsible and thoughtless aristocrat. Later in life he and a friend were staying at a hunting lodge in Scotland. Their day’s sport was usually followed by an evening of drinking, and on one of these binges his friend dropped dead.
This tragedy was God’s message to Brownlow North. The awful thought gripped him: If it had been me instead of my friend, I should have been damned.
He began to think seriously about his soul. An earnest Christian lady led him to Christ and into the full light of the gospel. No sooner did he feel himself to be a changed man than he began trying to bring others to Christ.

One day, as he entered the building where he was to preach, he was handed a note that carried this warning: “Brownlow North, you miserable hypocrite! Do you remember what took place at … on such a date, and your part in it; also at … on such a date, and again at … on such a date, and your part on each of these occasions?”
Complete details of what did happen were given, and then the letter concluded: “Now, you wretched hypocrite! You know that every word of this letter is true. Will you, after reading it, dare to go into that pulpit and rant and rave and preach what you call the gospel?”
Mr. North felt the force of the letter deeply, but he put it into his pocket, and when the time came for him to speak, he read the Bible verse: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” He paused, and then, with deep feeling, he finished reading the verse: “Of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15).
“My friends,” he said, “when I entered this building tonight, a letter was put into my hands. I do not know who the writer may be, but he is evidently one who knows a great deal about my past. This letter refers to three distinct occasions in which it charges me with participating in depraved behavior. I won’t pollute your ears by quoting the details of this letter. The writer concludes by saying, ‘Now, you wretched hypocrite! You know that every word of this letter is true. Will you, after reading it, dare to go into that pulpit and rant and rave and preach what you call the gospel?’ ”
Three Important Things
“There are three things that I have to say about this letter. First, it is all true. Would to God that I could undo the past, but that’s not possible for even God Himself. God knows it’s true, and I confess with sorrow and shame that it’s true.
“The second thing I have to say is that it’s all forgiven! God knows it’s forgiven, and I know that it’s forgiven.”
Forgiveness for You
“The third thing I have to say is that if God, for Jesus Christ’s sake, can forgive the sins of a sinner like Brownlow North, there is not a sinner in this world too great for God to forgive him all his sins.”
Your sins may or may not be as glaring as North’s, but they can be forgiven freely by the same pardoning God, if you come to Him in true repentance. If you die unforgiven, you will experience the blackness of darkness forever. God in mercy wants you for Himself.
“Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation [atoning sacrifice] through faith in His blood, to declare … His righteousness: that He might be just, and the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus”
(Romans 3:24-26).
“The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin”
(1 John 1:7).

The Empty Tomb

In one of the villages in northern India a Christian preacher was speaking in a market. There is naturally a good deal of discussion after such meetings, for India is a land of culture. A Muslim came up and said, “You must admit that we Muslims have one thing that you Christians have not. We at least can take our people to Medina where they can see the tomb of Mohammed, but when you Christians go to Jerusalem, you have no coffin. You have an empty tomb.”
To this the preacher replied, “Praise God, you’re right! That’s the difference between our faith and yours. Your leader is in his grave, but Jesus Christ, whose kingdom is to include all nations and kindreds and tribes, is not in any grave. He is risen! And He says from the resurrection side of an empty tomb, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18).
Our risen Lord is our ever-living Saviour. And His promise is, “Because I live, ye shall live also” (John 14:19).

A Real Man
You ask, “Did Christ really live?” That is one thing that all agree upon — that this Person who claimed to be the Son of God really lived here on earth among men.
We know when He lived — from about 5 B.C. until about 31 A.D.
We know where He was born — in Bethlehem, of Judea, a real town, not a mythological one. We know where He lived for most of the years of His life — in Nazareth, in northern Galilee. There He worked as a carpenter.
We know many of the characters of His day — their names appear in other historical writings outside of the Bible: Herod the Great, his son Herod, Agrippa, Salome, Pontius Pilate, Tiberius Caesar, Gamaliel, Felix and Festus.
Every history of the ancient world and every encyclopedia records the fact that Jesus lived during the first century of our era. H. G. Wells, the historian, had a contempt, indeed a hatred, for almost every article of the Christian faith, but he was compelled to give pages to Jesus of Nazareth in his Outline of History.
Unique Power
Millions in each generation have had their lives gripped and changed by the firm belief that Christ has given the world the perfect revelation of God, the only gospel that delivers men from the power of sin, the only assurance of forgiveness of sins and the only certain hope of life to come.
Christ has done more to lift and empower the ethical standards of men than all the philosophers of Greece combined. Among all the great men of history, He “is above all.” “That in all things He might have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:18).
Jesus Christ lived! And now “He ever liveth to make intercession for them” who believe on Him (Hebrews 7:25).
What Am I to Believe?
A lady once wrote to a servant of Christ, “Will you put it down in black and white what I am to believe? I have been told of many different texts, and there are so many that I am bewildered. Please tell me one text, and I will try to believe it.”
The answer came: “It is not any one text, nor any number of texts that saves the soul. It is by trusting the Person and the work of the Lord Jesus that we are saved.” “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Four Things God Wants You to Know

1. You Need to Be Saved!

“All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

“There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Ecclesiastes 7:20).

“Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

2. You Cannot Save Yourself!

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” (Titus 3:5).

“By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Galatians 2:16).

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6).

3. Jesus Can Save You!

“Christ . . . hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).

“God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

4. Trust Jesus Now!

“Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6).

“Behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

“What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).

Repent (accept God’s view of your need):

“Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3).


“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31).

Confess Jesus as Your Lord:

“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” (Romans 10:9).


“Every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12).

“It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

“Choose you this day whom ye will serve” (Joshua 24:15).

God Answers Your Questions

I don’t expect to die soon. Why do I need to think now about what’s after death?

God says, “Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth” (Proverbs 27:1).

If I do die, isn’t that it?

“The rich man died, and was buried; and in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments” (Luke 16:22-23).

I have lived a comparatively good life. Why should I be condemned?

God says, “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). “Except a man be BORN AGAIN, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

God is merciful, so I trust that He will pass over my sins.

He “will by no means clear the guilty” (Exodus 34:7). “Because I have called, and ye refused … I also will laugh … when your fear cometh” (Proverbs 1:24,26).

I say my prayers and have given to God’s work. Won’t that count in my favor?

“Many will say to Me in that day … Have we not done many wonderful works? … I never knew you: depart from Me” (Matthew 7:22‑23).

Why put me on the same level as a drunkard or a criminal?

God says, “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin. … All have sinned” (Romans 5:12). “All we like sheep have gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6).

If that’s the case, I must plead guilty. I have sinned. What must I do to be saved?

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

What exactly am I to believe?

“God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

But must I do something?

“A man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ”(Galatians 2:16).

To be saved just by believing seems too simple.

“If the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when He saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?” (2 Kings 5:13). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou SHALT be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Does God really love me?

“God commendeth His love toward us, in that, WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us” (1 John 3:16).

I often think I am too great a sinner to be saved.

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).






God Is Not a Vending Machine

Before explaining what I mean by “God is not a vending machine,” let’s think about vending machines for a moment. They are pretty simpleminded, really. Drop in a few coins, get your pop, candy or treat, turn your back and walk away. You do your part, they do their part, and everybody’s happy. Except when they don’t do their part. The vending machine “eats” your coin and you find yourself tapping, pounding, kicking or otherwise inducing it to respond the way you expected. Sometimes it coughs up the product, and sometimes you walk away with neither your coins or treats and brimming with frustration. We won’t waste our time on that machine that doesn’t act the way it should.
Imagine for a moment treating your loved one that way. Give them gifts in exchange for what we want. They do their part and we do our part. We do ours and then we turn our back and walk away. Walk away, that is, until we want another treat. Then we come back to drop in another kind word or a gift and take out another reward. Many people act that way, but such selfishness hardly makes for happy homes. Eventually the “machine” they live with malfunctions once too often and they walk away for good.
It’s strange how many people approach God on their own terms as though they wanted to cut a deal with an Almighty God in exchange for a little “pleasure.” As long as we feel “spiritual,” meditate, show up at religious events, live by our own sense of right and wrong, and confess when we feel we’ve “messed up,” we can expect a decent return on our “investment.” If we are “very spiritual” and put a lot into our good works, then we expect a big payback. Just a little bit of effort, and we get a small, little corner in heaven.

God Is Not at Our Beck and Call
But God is not an impersonal vending machine at our beck and call. He is the Almighty and eternal Creator God who wants a relationship with us according to His own perfect view of it. He’s presented His love and warnings in His book to us, the Bible. We are spiritually bankrupt without anything of value to bring Him. “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). We have offended a holy God with our sin. “Your iniquities have separated between you and your God” (Isaiah 59:2). God wants us to come to Him, not with good works and great words, but with humility and repentance, recognizing that we deserve not treats but judgment. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
God’s Goodness Exceeds Our Thoughts
When we come in repentance, we discover that God’s goodness greatly exceeds our expectations. “Thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness” (Nehemiah 9:17). We find a God of love and goodness. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Acknowledge your sin and reach out by faith to receive His undeserved and unearned love and goodness.

Can You Tell Me the Way to Heaven?

One morning we were holding the line when our company came under heavy fire. Suddenly there was a black cloud as a shell exploded and pieces of shrapnel whizzed past us. Poor Bert took a hit and fell hard. Jim and another buddy jumped down and picked him up. He was still alive, but it was clear we were going to lose him. Jim and other soldiers found empty sandbags and an old jacket and laid Bert on them in the bottom of the trench.
They had not been back on the firing line long when Jim was startled by a weak voice behind him asking, “Can you tell me the way to heaven?”
Jim jumped down again beside Bert and said, “The way to heaven? Sorry, buddy, I don’t know, but I’ll ask the other guys and find out if anyone knows.”
Jim moved along behind the firing line and asked the first soldier if he could tell Bert the way to heaven. He said, “No,” so Jim asked the next soldier, but he didn’t know either. Jim moved to the next squad and asked the first soldier … same answer. From there each soldier relayed the question to the buddy next to him. The message was passed from man to man, until sixteen had given the same answer — not one of those sixteen men could tell dying Bert the way to heaven.
When you have trained together, been shipped overseas together, faced the dangers and hardships of combat missions together, you become close buddies. And when you see a buddy dying and you can’t help him, that’s hard … really hard. In peacetime we might have given him some sort of answer, but when a buddy is dying on the battlefield, it’s different. What we think or guess just won’t do. No, when a buddy is dying, he wants only the real answer — the truth.
The question was passed down to the seventeenth man: “Bert’s dying and wants to know the way to heaven. Can you help him?”

The Answer

A smile lit up the soldier’s face. “Yes, I know the way to heaven, but I can’t leave my station to go to him.” Quickly he pulled out a little New Testament and flipped through the pages until he found the page with John 3:16. “I’ll turn back the corner of the page, but you put your thumb under that verse that’s underlined. Tell him that is the way to heaven.”
The New Testament and the message were quickly passed back down the line until it reached Jim. He dropped down beside Bert and touched his shoulder. As Bert slowly opened his eyes, Jim said, “I’ve got it, Bert. Here’s the way to heaven.” And he read aloud, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Bert’s eyes were alert now and he was clinging to every word.  Jim, who was the biggest guy in our company, knelt at the bottom of the trench, holding the little Testament, with tears running down his face as he read over and over again those life-giving words to his dying buddy: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
A look of peace came over Bert’s face as he weakly kept repeating the word “whosoever.” Then, after lying quiet for a minute his face lit up with relief, and with one final gasp he said “whosoever” and was gone. Gone from the battlefield to be with Christ! It was a wonderful change for Bert; he was in his Saviour’s presence!
As a soldier who has now also found the way to heaven, let me assure you that this is the real thing — the truth. Jesus is the real Saviour. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). He also said, “I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved” (John 10:9).
Jesus, whose precious blood cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7), died, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God. Now He is seated at God’s right hand where He is crowned with glory and honor. He is the only Saviour and the only way to heaven. It is not enough to merely know the way to heaven; you must actually go that way through Christ — the door.
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).