Death - it is that one event that we cannot avoid and the one event that we try to avoid. We look for the fountain of youth, only to realize there is none. We try face lifts only to have the face sag again. Tummy tucks do nothing to stop the progression towards death. We can eat right, exercise daily, watch our cholesterol, and make sure that we have no heart blockages and we will still face the inevitable. Death is going to claim each one of us (unless the Lord returns first but that is for another blog).
So when we face death, what comes next? Heaven or hell. Heaven if you believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior and hell if you do not. It is that simple. Believe in Jesus Christ and you will be saved! Don't believe in Jesus Christ and you will be damned. Plain, simple, straightforward. That means that if a person is a part of a Christian denomination that believes that Jesus is the Savior, he/she will be saved. (So such groups as Lutherans [yeah], Catholics, Methodists, Baptists, etc. have salvation.) It also means if a person is part of the Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Muslims, Hindus, etc., he will not have salvation. Pretty easy to understand.
But can we be certain that we are going to heaven? Ask the gentleman who is dying from cancer that question and he will tell you, "Yes!" He has no doubt that he is going to heaven, not by his works or by his decision, but by the grace of God. That is how we can be certain, the same way that he can be certain. It is a certainty that comes through the power of the Holy Spirit working through the Means of Grace.
Many doubt that certainty because they are placing their trust in their decision or in their own actions. Have I done enough? Have I acted faithfully enough? Am I faithful enough? Those questions place the burden on the individual - and when the burden is on you, you can never be certain. So you try harder, you act nicer, you follow six steps towards a deeper spirituality, and when all is said and done, you still cannot be certain.
When your certainty is placed squarely in the hands of the Lord, then you can absolutely certain that you are going to heaven - because it is due to His actions both on the cross and in your life. That is the Gospel at it's purest. That is the message that people NEED to hear but often don't WANT to hear. Why? Because we all want to have something to do with our salvation. Trusting in the Lord, we have nothing to do with that salvation. He is the Savior and He is the giver of that salvation.
Can you be certain? Yes! In Christ alone you can be certain.