You will make heaven in Jesus name! Do I hear a resounding Amen? That would be the expectation of many Christians who have turned this prayer point into a regular and highly prioritized one. I will not blame anyone who wants to make it, especially because the other option cannot be a desire or delight at all. Hellfire is a place of eternal torment according to the Bible and nobody with any self love will desire it for himself nor anyone he cares about.
Heaven is a city of exceptional and celestial beauty. Various biblical accounts corroborated by many claims of vision experiences speak of indescribable joy, pain and sickness free dimensions, complete peace and harmony with others, angels, reunion with loved ones, wondrous landscapes, scintillating melodies, supernatural knowledge and many other glories too many to mention all. Such a place contrasts with the fire, demonic oppression, disharmony, ugliness and hopelessness of hell. No doubt, heaven is a place to gain and hell one to gladly lose.
My article today however intends to challenge the prayer that opens it. It’s a prayer that suggests the possibility of not making it and that in itself is a contradiction to the gospel of Christ. I have to admit that for many years of my Christian experience, I took that same position and did not realize how contradictory it is to the message we preach. Firstly our salvation is by grace through Faith (Ephesians 2:8). This Faith is in the Finished work of Christ on the cross of Calvary with the subsequent resurrection and ascension. This salvation is God’s free gift and not based on our good works, hence we cannot boast about it. It is freely granted by God(Ephesians 2:9). To doubt our salvation which is the key to seeing heaven is to doubt the potency of the blood of Jesus Christ and to reduce salvation to something dependent on our works and no longer on the sacrifice of Christ for us.
Paul the Apostle had to contend with this same challenge when Jewish teachers began to teach the church in Galatia a mixture of the Law and Grace. They asked them to obey certain parts of the law of Moses in addition to their Faith in Christ Jesus to obtain salvation. Paul was shell-shocked by how the Galatians were carried away by this false doctrine. He asked:
“How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?”
Galatians 3:3 NLT
Most people who are striving to make heaven are trying to do so by their own human effort. They believe their personal holiness is what will determine their salvation. Salvation by its nature has rescued us from eternal destruction and damnation. Hebrews 12:14 emphasized more of our ability to see the Lord in this life than at his appearing. How to make heaven is to believe that Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity and our Lord and Saviour, through his substitutionary work for us in redemption has taken all our sin and liabilities and he did so that we might be imparted with his righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). Let me share a couple of verses with you:
“Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.”
Romans 8:33-34 NLT
By virtue of Christ’s substitution we cannot be accused of sin, neither can we be condemned. To accuse us and be banished to hell for sin is no longer possible for Christ was accused on our behalf. To lose heaven is to reject Christ as Lord and saviour. The fruit of holiness proves we are truly saved and are children of God but does not constitute the condition for salvation or making heaven. God wants His children happy, peaceful and fulfilled in the knowledge that they as adopted as children of God.
To be continued.