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Getting to Heaven

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heaven, salvation

Have you ever heard the complaint circulating these days regarding the path to heaven outlined in the Bible? The complaint that there can’t be only one way because that would make God horribly insensitive and unsympathetic. 

Last summer I spent an afternoon talking to a college student about faith. At one point she asked, “Well what about my Hindu friend? Do you believe she’ll go to heaven?”

The Hindus believe Jesus is a teacher or a guru. He is a son of God as are others. His death does not atone for our sins and he did not rise from the dead. A person can be reincarnated into a better status (good karma) if the person has been a good person and behaved well. If that person has behaved badly, he can be reborn and pay for past sins (bad karma) by suffering personally for those sins. Salvation is release from the cycles of reincarnation. In Hinduism there is never any assurance that a person will receive eternal life in heaven or release from the cycles of reincarnation. (From “Christianity, Cults, & Religions” by Rose Publishing)

I told the young woman, “It isn’t for me to judge, but I do know what the Bible teaches . . . what Jesus himself taught. That’s what I go by.”

Jesus told us, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” He makes it clear that he is essential to a relationship with God and life in heaven. He is the way to God – not a way. (John 14:6)

This answer didn’t sit right with her. She bristled and came at me with, “Well, I don’t believe that’s what he meant. I see it differently.”

I was a little surprised. His words are pretty straight-forward. So I asked her how she sees it.

She explained, “If God is loving, he wouldn’t just make one way to heaven (and keep “good” people out). That just isn’t who God is.

Legitimate thought. God IS loving and good.

Here’s a story I shared with her in response.

In 2011, the Green Bay Packers miraculously persevered through a season loaded with injuries and made it all the way to the Super Bowl. Our family went to Dallas on the weekend of the big event even though we didn’t have tickets to the game. We wanted to be close to the excitement and knew there would be lots going on.

We also held out hope we would somehow be able to find some affordable tickets. 

Well . . . it never happened. Tickets were way out of our budget so we went to a friend’s house to watch the game instead.

If someone had generously and benevolently given us tickets, we would have grabbed those tickets and run right in the gate – and would have been incredibly grateful for them!

Setting those tickets aside and looking for another way in would never have been even a tiny thought in our brains. How ludicrous would that be?!

Yet that’s exactly what people have done with God’s gift to us. Jesus gives us the free pass to get into heaven, yet many are determined to find another way. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Our pastor recently shared, “People don’t go to hell because they reject Jesus. They go to hell because they’re sinners.” Our sin keeps us out of heaven.

“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” (Romans 3:22-26)

The hard truth is, there’s no way we can earn the right to be next to God for eternity. We aren’t entitled. We aren’t good enough. Not even close.

Heaven is perfect. There’s no suffering, heartache, or evil. God’s keeping it out – down to the tiniest speck. I actually like that. Makes me look forward to heaven even more.

So we’re stuck with a big problem. How do we get in?

Because God is loving and good, he has opened a way to us through his son.

Our sin keeps us out. Jesus’ righteousness gets us in. Only those covered in his righteousness have access to heaven.

“Righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” Romans 3:22

Jesus is the only one who is qualified to get us in because he is the only man to ever exist who is perfectly sinless.

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

Because of Jesus Christ, we get VIP treatment and entrance to the big “game.”

Despite God’s extraordinary generosity, many still say how mean and rude it is for him to allow only one way in. 

Quite frankly, I’m sick of it. I’m tired of people slandering and misjudging God – especially when they haven’t taken the time to get to know him or uncover the truth that he’s revealed about himself in the Bible. 

I’m worn out by people acting like they know more than God does and by people trying to tell him the way things should really be done.

I’m heart-sick over people creating their own “god” and their own truth by choosing select scriptures in isolation of other scriptures in order to support their rebellious views.

I’m sad for those who are missing the whole truth . . . overlooking who God really is . . . missing his jaw-dropping, heart-bursting, “bring you to your knees” majesty, kindness, and unfathomable goodness.

So my question to you is, “When God’s been so charitable, why does there have to be another way?”

“Why would you look for another way?”

It’s seems to me the natural response would be for us to live life in thankful response to God’s generosity – and to embrace the way that he has so graciously provided.

“Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.” (Romans 3 – The Message)

Love y’all! Thanks for visiting me here at The Warming House. If this post has gotten you thinking, share your respectful comments below.

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Lisa

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