Wednesday, June 17, 2015

How Does a Person Get to Heaven?

If you wonder how you can be sure that you are on the path to heaven, perhaps what I have written below can help you.

Today people are embracing the gospel of Oprah,
which says that everyone can find their own path or way to God.
But exactly who makes that decision?
Or God?
Who are we,
And with what arrogance
Do we dare to tell the Creator of the Universe
on what terms He will accept us.

Heaven is God’s home, not ours.
It is not our place to tell Him to whom He will open His door.
We decide whom we let into our homes.
Why should we expect that it would be any different with God?
People who try to force their way into our homes are considered
sometimes thieves.
They are not invited
and they are not welcome.
We invite those whom we want in our homes,
and we give them the directions on how to get there.
God does the same.

He has invited us.
He has invited all of us.
Everyone on the planet.
He has said, “Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden
and I will give you rest.”

Does that mean because we have all been invited
that we can choose to follow our own path to God?
To take whatever road we think will get us there?
Or do we need to follow the directions God has given us?
The directions which He knows will get us there.

I have often given instructions to people to direct them to my house.
Several times people have decided to not follow those directions
as they thought they knew better than I
how to get to where I lived,
even though they had never been there,
or at least they thought they knew a different route
to get there
than I had given them.
They ignored street names
or landmarks
or took different roads
and in so doing
found themselves not at my house,
but lost,
or at least someplace where I was not.
I even once had someone say,
“I saw the landmarks,
I saw the signs,
but I didn’t think that was it,
so I didn’t take that road.”
They did not trust me to know the way to my own house.
They did not arrive at the destination
even though they received the invitation
because they did not follow the directions.

The same situation exists in getting to God’s house.
Man asks,
“Isn’t any religion adequate to save us?”
Not according to God.
“Jesus saith unto him,
I am the way, the truth, and the life,
no man cometh unto the Father but by me.”
According to Jesus,
He is the only way,
No other person can show you the way to God’s house.

Man asks, “Isn’t membership in a particular church
necessary to save us?”
Not according to God.
God’s Word says,
“For God so loved the world
that He gave His only begotten Son
that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish
but have everlasting life.”
According to God,
Jesus is the only necessity.
We do not have to go through anybody or anything else.

Man asks, “Isn’t being good,
enough to save us?”
What does God say?
“For all have sinned
and come short of the glory of God.”
“There is none righteous,
no not one.”
According to God,
it is impossible for us to be good enough.

Man asks, “Can we not work our way there
and earn God’s favor?”
God says,
“For by grace are ye saved through faith,
and that not of yourselves,
it is the gift of God,
not of works
lest any man should boast.”
"Be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel
according to the power of God,
who hath saved us
and called us with an holy calling,
not according to our works
but according to his own purpose and grace,
which was given us in Christ Jesus
before the world began."
According to God,
salvation is not a matter of our works.
It is a matter of His grace
and our faith,
and the latter is even a gift from God to us.

Then what is to be done
for us to get to God‘s house?

We look at the invitation
to see how to get there.
God gave us the directions to find His house.
He told us which road to take.
Jesus is the only way
and the only necessity.
He is the only person in history
who claimed to be God
“I and the Father are one”
And who came back from death,
A torturous, gruesome death,
to actually prove that what he said was true.
Nobody else
Now really consider this,
Nobody else
has ever proven
the truth of what they have said
in this manner.
Christ rebuilt the road between God and us
that sin destroyed,
so that we can travel back
to God‘s house.

According to God,
Oprah is completely and totally wrong.
There are not multiple ways to His place.
Why not?
Because in spite of the invitation,
to gain entrance into God’s house,
you have to travel the road set forth on the invitation.
The road that Christ rebuilt.

But there is a problem with getting on that road.
And the problem is ……..
that road happens to be a toll road,
because the cost to travel the road to God
is sinless perfection.
We cannot travel that road on our own.
It is an impossibility for us
because we cannot pay the toll.
Nobody is good enough.
Nobody can earn it through hard work.
Neither religion nor a particular church
will give us sinless perfection.

So how does one get to a house
when the only road there,
is a toll road,
and one does not have the toll,
cannot get it from someone else,
because no one else has it either,
nor can one work to earn the toll?

Fortunately for us, God took care of that.
He paid the toll in advance.
Christ rebuilt the road,
By paying the toll.
God’s Word says
“But God commendeth His love toward us in that
while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us.”
“For the wages of sin is death,
but the gift of God is eternal life
through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

According to God,
Christ paid the toll for us.
The wages of sin…..death,
Was paid in full on the cross
When Christ offered His sinless perfect life as the substitute
for each and every one of us.
That allowed everyone access to the road.
But you have to actually get on that specific road.

How do we do that?
God says,
“For whosoever
shall call upon the name of the Lord
shall be saved.
For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world through him might be saved.
He that believeth on Him is not condemned,
but he that believeth not is condemned already,
because he hath not believed in the name
of the only begotten Son of God.”

According to God,
To get on that road
we must believe
and call upon the name of the Lord.
And notice that one cannot remain neutral.
Either you believe and are saved,
or you do not believe and are condemned.
There is no middle ground.
No neutral position.
To not choose Jesus
is to choose the other side by default.
Jesus said, “He that is not with me,
is against me.”

Is it enough to say ?
“Well, intellectually I believe that Jesus lived
and was the Son of God.”
Is that enough to get you on the road into heaven?
God’s Word says “Thou believest that there is one God;
thou doest well,”
It also says,
“the devils also believe
and tremble.”
Intellectual belief does not get the devils into heaven.
So a head belief
an intellectual belief
does not get you on that road.
Jesus said, “Not everyone that saith unto me Lord, Lord,
shall enter into the kingdom of heaven,
but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day,
Lord, Lord,
have we not prophesied in thy name?
and in thy name have cast out devils?
and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them,
I never knew you,
depart from me,
ye that work iniquity.”
Someone can think that they know God,
that they must belong to Him
as they serve Him and even do miraculous things for Him,
but what does He say?
He says He never knew the person.
It is said that a person can miss heaven by eighteen inches.
That is the approximate distance between the head
and the heart.

Everyone wonders about the meaning of life.
Why do we exist?
We were created for one reason
and one reason only.
God wanted the same thing that we want.
He wanted someone to love
who would love Him in return.
by their own choice.
It really is as simple as that.
He wants our hearts.

Rituals and offerings are not a bad thing.
God ordained that Israel have many rituals
And offerings.
But they were never to be a replacement
For loving Him.
For knowing Him.
To become more important
than a personal and intimate relationship with Him.
God has told us what he thinks
of our supplanting a relationship with Him
with these things.

“To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me.
Bring no more vain oblations,
incense is an abomination unto me,
the new moons and the Sabbaths,
the calling of assemblies,
I cannot……away with it,
it is iniquity,
even the solemn meeting,
Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth,
they are a trouble unto me,
I am weary to bear them.
Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs,
for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.”

According to God,
All of our man-made rituals,
sacrifices, offerings
meetings, holy days, and music,
Are completely worthless,
Nay, abhorrent in His eyes,
if we do not have love in our hearts for Him.
God wants a relationship with us.
Such as we have with each other.
“Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord.
Though your sins be as scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow.
Though they be red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.”
God tries to reason with us,
but not everyone wants to be reasonable.
God wants to forgive us.
He wants to love us.
He wants to be intimate with us.

God has invited us to come live in His house.
He loves us
and He wants us to love Him
and to come and live with Him.
That is what our short sojourn on this world is really all about.
It is the period of time we have
for us to decide where we really want to live
for the rest of our lives,
which will last for all of eternity.

He has freely given us all the directions we need to get there.
He has told us the road to take.
He has paid the necessary toll or price.
But just having an intellectual belief
that the road exists and the toll has been paid
will not answer.
There is something more required.
God has told us,
“If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus,
and shalt believe in thine heart
that God hath raised him from the dead,
thou shalt be saved.”

According to God,
It is not enough to believe with our heads.
To have an intellectual belief.
We have to believe with our hearts.
We have to love with our hearts.
We have to confess with our mouths.
Confess what?
Our sins.
Our belief that Jesus is the Son of the true and living God.
Our belief that Jesus died for our sins,
and that he was resurrected
conquering the penalty of death for our sins.

We have to make Christ Jesus the Lord of our lives to enter into heaven.
We have to engage our hearts….
Have a relationship with Him.
That means loving God enough
to give up being your own god,
your own controller,
to let Him make the choices and decisions for your life,
to make Jesus Christ and God the Father
the love and Lord of your life.
This is more than some people are willing to relinquish.
They want to be their own gods,
They want to make their own choices,
Including trying to get to God’s house
on their own terms,
on a road of their own making.
But according to God,
There is only one road,
And it is the road we have to travel
to arrive at our destination
if we choose to accept the invitation.

But what if we do that?
If we confess and believe.
Is anything more required?
How can we ensure
That we stay on the right road
And do not make a wrong turn somewhere?
Life is hopefully long,
And we can get distracted and get off course.

God has given us directions for that too.
We have been told
to abide in Christ.
Jesus said,
“Abide in me and I in you.
As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself,
except it abide in the vine,
no more can ye,
except ye abide in me.
If a man abide not in me,
he is cast forth as a branch
and is withered,
and men gather them,
and cast them into the fire,
and they are burned.”
If you love me,
keep my commandments.
If ye keep my commandments,
Ye shall abide in my love.”
So to abide in His love,
we must keep His commandments.
By the way,
Even though there were ten commandments
Christ reduced them down to two simple ones.
“Jesus saith unto him, Thou shalt Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,
and with all thy soul,
and with all thy mind,
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it.
Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
Just two little commandments
with the same verb.

Another method God has given us for checking our progress,
to make sure we are abiding in Him,
is to check our fruit.
“I am the vine,
ye are the branches.
He that abideth in me,
and I in him,
the same bringeth forth much fruit,
for without me,
ye can do nothing.
Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit,
but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.”
What are the fruits?
“But the fruit of the spirit is

God tells us
that to keep in fellowship with Him……
to maintain a loving relationship……
We need to confess and ask forgiveness for the sins
that we inevitably will commit,
as we are not perfect.
Our confession need only be to Him alone.
“For there is one God
And one mediator between God and men
The man Christ Jesus.”
We are told that
“if we say that we have no sin,
We deceive ourselves
And the truth is not in us.”
But “if we confess our sins,
He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins
And to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Confession and forgiveness are necessary, ongoing,
lifelong activities
if we want to stay on the road.

God tells us we must have endurance
“he that shall endure unto the end,
the same shall be saved.”
A few weeks, months, or years will not suffice.
This requires a lifelong commitment.

God says good works
(Which come not from a grudging sense of obligation,
But joyfully and willingly from the heart),
are a hallmark of being on that road,
“faith if it hath not works is dead, being alone…
by works is faith made perfect
Ye see then how that by works a man is justified
and not by faith only.”

These things are not the means of getting on the road,
that was done through confessing and believing.
These are the evidences
Of having gotten on
and the means of staying on
the road to God’s house,
because make no mistake,
you can get off that road
anytime you want,
if you decide that you no longer want to travel it.
God does not force anyone to come to his house.
Only he that endures to the end,
who stays on that road to the end of life,
shall be saved.

None of us is perfect,
if we were Christ would not have had to die for us.
But we can ask Christ to be the Lord of our lives
and strive to walk down that road that He built for us,
picking ourselves up and continuing on when we fall down,
abiding in Christ,
enduring to the end in faith.

If having read this you have decided you want Jesus in your life, then just pray (prayer is simply talking to God like you would another person) and tell God that you believe in Him, that you believe He sent Jesus to die and pay the penalty for your sins, asking Him to forgive you for your sins, and ask Jesus to come in and take over as Lord of your life. Then follow up by  reading the Bible to learn about God and find out how He expects you to live for Him. As Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, "Your sins are forgiven. Now go and sin no more." If your life has been one that is in direct rebellion against God's Word and laws, then you must repent, which not only means to be sorry, but literally means to turn away from.  You must strive to leave your sins behind and walk with Him to the end of your days. May God bless you if you have chosen this path.

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