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  • David Kemper

How to know for sure that you will go to heaven when you die

LANSING – It was December of 1971. I had just returned from my tour in Vietnam as an infantry soldier. I had a lot of things on my mind. While on leave I visited my mother’s place of employment.

There I met a young lady named Jackie Casebolt. In a short time we were married. I was not a Christian and she was. We set up house in Radcliff KY near Ft. Knox. In the evening Jackie would read her Bible before retiring for the night. Not being a Christian, it seemed like I had nothing to do while she read her Bible. I decided I would start reading the Bible as well.

I happened upon Revelation 21:8 “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” I didn’t understand everything in that verse, but I did understand that the Bible was telling me that had I died in Vietnam, and there were many times when I could have, that I would spend an eternity in hell.


God spoke to me clearly in that verse. I desperately needed to know where I would spend eternity if I died that day. I had no idea where to start. I had not been raised in a Christian home. Fortunately, my wife could clearly see that I was troubled. She showed me what I needed to do from God’s Word and that night I gave my life to the Lord.


It is a sad thing for me to recall to this day. Forr the first twenty-one years of my life no one had ever sat down and showed me exactly from God’s Word what I needed to do to go to heaven. We need to keep the main thing the main thing and it seems to me that we focus on everything ahead of Biblical evangelism. We need to get back to that today more than ever.


How do we know for sure? Today I know for a fact that if I die today that I will go to heaven. I know this for three reasons…


I have done everything God has told me in his Word that I need to do to become a born-again Christian. 

  1. I realized that I am a sinner 

  2. I confessed my sins and repented of them 

  3. I received the free gift of eternal life that God has promised me 

  4. I received Him as Lord and believe with all my heart that God had raised Him from the dead. His Word promised me that I am saved. (The Romans Road)

God’s Spirit bears witness to my spirit that I am a son of God. 

Romans 8:15-16 says, “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,” NKJV. His Spirit lives within my heart and empowers me to live for him.


I am living a changed life. 

I am not the same person that knelt beside his bed more than fifty years ago. The Bible makes it clear that those that are genuinely saved will be changed daily to live a life that honors and glorifies Him. James 2:14 “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?”


We as believers need to be clearly sharing the plan of salvation from God’s Word in order to make any real difference in this chaotic world. We don’t need clever plans, programs, or anything else. We need to get as close to the Lord as we can and make it a point to share the Gospel clearly to everyone we can. That’s how the Gospel turned the world upside down in the first century. It has the power to do it again. Let’s get at it!


May God pour His blessings on all the churches and ministries in the SBC.



David Kemper is a 75-year-old army brat (his dad was a career soldier). He was raised and has lived in four different countries and numerous states. He became a born-again Christian in 1971 shortly after returning from a tour in Vietnam. He has been an ordained minister since 1975. He has enjoyed dual careers, pastoring and being a systems analyst (computer programmer). He has pastored churches in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and now Michigan. He has been pastoring the Discover Life Church in Lansing, MI for over five years now.


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