Because of its year round, mild and sunny climate, Santa Barbara has been called The 'American Riviera.' No other location on California's 'South Coast' is a more popular tourist attraction for events such as the week long 'Old Spanish Days Fiesta' which attracts thousands to the city every year.
But there is at least one place that undoubtedly surpasses Santa Barbara, and that's heaven! Heaven Is a real place, you know, and its not a tourist stop. Jesus taught us that. He said He came from heaven and was about to return to heaven. He told His disciples that He was going to prepare a place for them, a forever home, in heaven and would provide great happiness and reward for them there. He made the prospects of going to heaven so very attractive that His disciples wanted to be sure they knew how to get there. 'How can we know the way?' they asked. He told them plainly: 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me' (1 John 14:6).
What does it mean to come 'through' Christ? His conversation with an extremely religious man named Nicodemus may help us understand it. He said, 'Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God' (John 3:3). 'The kingdom of God' in that context would include the certainty of heaven, and Jesus said we must be born again to enter. When we were born the first time we received physical life from our parents, but we lacked spiritual life. The Scripture says we are '...dead in trespasses and sins' (Eph. 2:1). And that includes all of us. 'For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God' (Rom. 3:23.) Unfortunately our sin makes it impossible for us to enter heaven, for God says '...there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles' (Rev. 21:27.) We all need a second birth which gives us spiritual life and cleanses us from the defilement of sin. How are we going to get it?
That's where Jesus Christ, God's eternal Son, enters the picture. First, by voluntarily giving His life on Calvary's cross, He paid the penalty which our sin deserves 1 Cor. 15:3,49 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:24.) And now, with the penalty paid, He can freely forgive us, cleanse us, and offer us the gift of eternal life. 'For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord' (Rom. 6:23). 'And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; and he who does not have the Son of God does not have life' (1 John 5:11,12). When a person puts his trust in Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sins, and receives Christ as his Savior from the guilt and condemnation of sin, he receives new life, spiritual life, eternal life! And he has the assurance that some day he shall enter heaven.
How do you get to heaven from Santa Barbara, California? The very same way you get there from any other place on earth -- by trusting Jesus Christ and receiving Him as your personal Savior from sin. 'But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God, even to those who believe in his name' (John 1:12). God's children will spend eternity with Him, in heaven. And you can be born into His family right now. With sincerity of heart, pray something like this: 'Lord Jesus, l know that I am a sinner. I believe that you died for my sins. I, here and now, place my trust in You as my Savior from sin. Come into my life, forgive my sins, make me a child of God, and give me that wonderful gift of eternal life.'
If you would like to talk to someone further about these eternal issues, Please contact Oaks Bible Church
Page last modified: Nov 17, 2015 10:27:27 AM PST OaksBible website visitors since June 25, 2005