Topic: Heaven and Hell

getting into heaven

What Everybody Ought to Know About Getting into Heaven

I’ve used the story of the thief on the cross many times to help people see who Jesus is and what he is able to do for them. The last day of his life was extraordinary. It began in the misery of a prison cell; it ended in the joy […]

Heaven so near

Heaven, So Near – So Far: Q&A with Author Colin Smith

The following is an adaptation of the Postscript from Pastor Colin’s book Heaven, So Near—So Far: The Story of Judas Iscariot (Christian Focus Publications). Learn more about this story and purchase the book and audiobook! Q1: Why did you write this book? I wrote this book for people who are […]

Panic Attacks

Gospel Gratitude Through Panic Attacks

In a hotel gym while on vacation with my family, I stepped down from the treadmill to stretch, and found myself flat on my back—vision blurred. I reached for my phone to ask for help—thankfully I could. My sister helped me unglue from the ground and wobble to the elevator. […]


Are You Living the Dream?

Maybe you (or someone you know) is “livin’ the dream.” As the phrase has become more mainstream, I’ve quietly wondered, What on earth does it mean? I may live a sheltered life in the suburbs of Chicago, but lately I’ve heard at least three versions of “livin’ the dream,” which […]

Brett McCracken

“Readers and Writers” Episode 7 with Erik Raymond

Hell is for judgment upon those who’ve sinned against God, not simply for those who’ve heard the gospel or not heard the gospel. (Erik Raymond) Unlocking the Bible continues to release weekly episodes of Readers and Writers with Colin Smith, a podcast recorded live at The Gospel Coalition’s 2017 National Conference. […]


Why Every Person Should Attend a Funeral Once a Year

Every person should attend a funeral at least once a year. Going to a wedding reminds you that the marriage bond is sacred. Going to a funeral reminds you that life is a vapor, that one day yours will be gone. When it is announced in church that someone has died, […]

sermon clip

What Happens to a Believer at Death?

Video Notes: Brother, sister in Christ: There is no condemnation for you in the future because it has already been dealt with by Jesus in the past! “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). We have passed from death to life! Life, […]

Key Connections

Key Connections (March 1, 2017)

Why the Church Needs Suffering (Sarah Walton, Set Apart) Why is life so heavy for so many of those who are following Christ? Why isn’t God protecting his people? Will We Know Each Other in Heaven? (Colin Smith, Unlocking the Bible) Let’s cut to the chase with a one-word answer: Yes! The two-word […]


Bible Q&A: What Do Muslims and Christians Believe About Getting into Heaven?

Question: What do Muslims and Christians believe about getting into heaven? How do these different belief systems affect the level of confidence that each one can have about the afterlife? Answer: This is Pastor Tim from Unlocking the Bible. Pastor Smith asked me to thank you for your good question and answer […]

nancy dubina

ONE Neighbor’s Faithfulness: The Story of Nancy Dubina

Like Nancy, you can be ONE person making an exponential difference for the gospel. Click here to learn more. Nancy Dubina lives in Canton, OH and is a regular listener to the daily radio program, Unlocking the Bible. Last Easter, Nancy was one of three million listeners to tune into […]

resurrection bodies

What Will Our Resurrection Bodies Be Like?

Our bodies run rife with limitations. We age, get slower, need more rest, and are not able to keep up with our loved ones and the responsibilities of a physical life. We suffer from aches and pains. We can sense darkness around us, and struggle to get even the smallest […]

10 Things Christ Promises to Reward

Our lives are filled with many choices of how to spend our time, energy, and resources. Some live for money and possessions, amassing as much as they can, while some invest their time in education or entertainment, hoping to find long-lasting value and enjoyment. How do we make the best […]

heavenly rewards

Bible Q&A: What is the Difference Between Heavenly Rewards and Salvation?

Question: What is the difference between heavenly rewards and salvation? Answer: The answer to the first part of your question can be found in the Bible verse: “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). The […]

the audacity of hope

The Audacity of Hope

This is an excerpt from a book by Pastor Colin Smith called, Heaven, How I Got Here: The Story of the Thief on the Cross, Scotland, UK: Christian Focus, 2015, 96 pp. $8.99. ‘Jesus,’ I said, ‘Remember me when you come into your kingdom.’   It was an audacious request. A […]

easter bible verses

40 Easter Bible Verses and Resurrection Quotes

Do you follow Unlocking the Bible on Twitter and our Facebook Page? The following is a collection of Easter Bible verses, quotes, and sayings that we’ve posted to social media in years past, all about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter Bible Verses on the Resurrection 1. “The Christ will suffer and rise […]

the resurrection

Why the Resurrection Is More Than You May Think It Is

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But […]

resurrection Jesus Easter

Six Realities of the Resurrection

With the celebration of Easter comes a magnificent reality for the Christian. This is the glorious power of the resurrection – the historical reality that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. As Christians, we believe that God has spoken to us through his Word. We believe his Word is true. […]

Twitter party

Join Our #Heavenbook Twitter Party and Giveaway on March 23!

Mark your calendars! On Wednesday, March 23, 2016 (12pm CT) Pastor Colin and Unlocking the Bible will join all of you on Twitter for a conversation all about heaven. Do You Have Questions about Heaven? Have you ever wondered: How someone gets to heaven? What happens when a person dies? What heaven […]

the thief

On Salvation, Religion, and the Thief: An Interview with Colin Smith

What if you woke up one morning knowing it was your last day on earth? That’s what happened to the thief on the cross, who died a few feet from Jesus. Heaven, How I Got Here is his story, told in his own words, as he looks back from heaven […]

Pastor Colin Smith talks with Jerry Rose on Significant Insights about violence in the Bible, why God sends people to hell, and more.

How Do We Understand Violence in the Bible?

“The Old Testament gives us the story of God’s judgment when sins had reached their fullness.” Pastor Colin recently joined Jerry Rose on Significant Insights, a TLN program that seeks to answer peoples’ hardest questions about Christianity. In this episode, Pastor Colin addresses these five questions: How do we understand violence […]

longing for heaven

Two Things We Need to Know About Our Longing for Heaven

Why do we long for heaven? Why do you long for heaven? We talk about “one day” when we’ll see Christ, when we’ll be freed from sin and suffering, when we’ll be united with the witnesses of the faith. We sing about being there 10,000 years, we hear sermons about […]

Six Dimensions of Hell on the Cross

Artists and poets have speculated over the centuries about hell (consider Dante’s “Inferno”), but the clearest revelation of hell is given at the cross.  The Apostle’s Creed affirms that Christ descended into hell. While this has often been taken to refer to a journey Christ made after his death, the […]

fall wallpaper

Just Hangin’: The Thief on the Cross

Meet Michael Mark, a spoken word artist who is following hard and fast after Jesus Christ. Right in time for Holy Week and along the lines of Heaven, How I Got Here, Michael has written a poem based on the story of the thief on the cross from Luke’s Gospel in chapter 23. […]

how to get to heaven

Episode #7: How to Get to Heaven

What can we learn from the story of the thief about how a person gets to heaven? The book is called Heaven, How I Got Here, so what does it tell us about how a person get to heaven? Well I think that the story of the thief on the cross is the […]

Unforgivable Sin

Bible Q&A: Is Holiness Required to Enter Heaven?

Question: Pastor Smith, I heard your message the other evening regarding justification and sanctification, and you used the example of the thief on the cross. At the end of the message you stated that “it is not by living a good Christian life” that you go to heaven. That is true, […]

how to get to heaven

Episode #6: Why No One is Good Enough to Get into Heaven

Is it true that no one is good enough to get into heaven? How can we know that to be certain? Pastor Colin talks about what it takes to enter heaven and why no human being is capable going to heaven by themselves. So often the message that the world seems […]


How Suffering Prepares Us for Heaven

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, […]

Bible verses about heaven

25 Bible Verses About Heaven

Ever wondered about heaven? The Bible speaks about eternity often, in both the Old and New Testaments. If you’ve found yourself wondering how a person gets to heaven, what heaven is like, or what Jesus had to say about heaven, then use the following list of Bible verses about heaven […]

how to get to heaven

Episode #5: The Crucifixion of Jesus from the Thief’s Perspective

The Bible only records a small part of the thief’s story in Luke’s Gospel. So how could an entire book be written on the thief, including the crucifixion of Jesus from the thief’s perspective? Pastor Colin discusses the ‘aha’ moment he experienced while reading Luke 23 and how it influenced the […]

how to get to heaven

Episode #4: How Lasting Change Happens

Many of us see behaviors and tendencies within our own hearts that we wish we could change. We wish we were more joyful and less negative, more generous and less selfish, more motivated and less lazy. But how is real change made possible? And is there an even deeper problem […]

what will heaven be like

What Is Heaven Like?

This is an excerpt from the new book by Pastor Colin Smith called, Heaven, How I Got Here: The Story of the Thief on the Cross, Scotland, UK: Christian Focus, 2015, 96 pp. $8.99. Crucifixion is a long, slow death, and if the Romans had their way, I might have […]

Unforgivable Sin

Bible Q&A: Where Did Jesus Go When He Died?

Question: I heard Colin Smith on the radio today talking about his book regarding the thief on the cross.  I’m confused about what Jesus said to him.  I’ve always been taught that Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with Me in paradise” (Luke 23:43, NIV), […]

how to get to heaven

Episode #3: The Limitations of Religion

Does a person get to heaven by living a good, religious life? Pastor Colin Smith, author of Heaven, How I Got Here: The Story of the Thief on the Cross, discusses the value of religion and what the thief on the cross learned about what it takes to enter heaven. […]

fall wallpaper

Easter Wallpaper (Ephesians 2:8-9)

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) This is the promise of the gospel, found in the person and work of Jesus […]

how to get to heaven

Episode #2: From God-Skeptic to Believer

“I had thought of myself as a God-skeptic, but in that moment I saw something deeper and darker in my soul…” These words from the thief on the cross in Heaven, How I Got Here describe a familiar struggle in the human mind: Is God real? Is Jesus worthy of my trust? And […]

the gospel coalition

Heaven, How I Got Here Book Review

The following Heaven, How I Got Here book review first appeared on The Gospel Coalition, March 9, 2015.  I’ve learned something interesting about unbelievers after several years of engaging them with the gospel: while many feel uncomfortable discussing sin, the exclusivity of Christ, or eternal punishment, most don’t mind discussing the afterlife. […]

pastor colin smith heaven Twitter party

“Heaven” Twitter Party Highlights

Our team is praising God for technology. Why? Because through the Internet and tools such as Twitter, we have had the privilege of connecting personally with people all around the globe (like you!) about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Truly, no conversation could be more significant. Friday’s #Heavenbook Twitter Party was an […]

how to get to heaven

Episode #1: Breakfast with the Devil, Supper with the Savior

What if you woke up one morning knowing it was your last day on earth? This was the reality of the thief on the cross who hung directly next to Jesus, experiencing all the events of the crucifixion and all the joys of eternity in the same day. Heaven, How I […]

pastor colin smith heaven Twitter party

Join Our #Heavenbook Twitter Party and Giveaway on March 5!

Mark your calendars! On Thursday, March 5, 2015 (5pm ET) Pastor Colin and Unlocking the Bible will join all of you on Twitter for a conversation all about heaven. Have you ever wondered: how someone gets to heaven? what happens when a person dies? what heaven will be like? if there […]

fall wallpaper

Is Hell Real? | Video

“Hell is as real as the cross.” Perhaps you’ve not thought deeply about the intricacies and realities of hell. Perhaps you’ve asked, “Is hell real?” If that’s the case, then you’ll find this short video of great help. Pastor Colin discusses the biblical doctrine of hell by unpacking its six […]

Bible Q&A: There Will Not Be What in Heaven?

Pastor Tim Augustyn from Unlocking the Bible answers the following listener question: “I listened to your message on heaven this morning, and the thing that bums me out about heaven is that there will be no sex there. Is that a correct understanding? And if there is no sex in […]