This weekend, my husband and I went to see his son graduate basic training. The trip was long and we got into the hotel really late. Needless to say, we were a bit sleep deprived. He had a pass to get in, but mine had not come in the mail as expected. When we got to the military base, I had to take my ID into the checkpoint office to see if I could be approved to enter the base. NO! I didn't have a ticket or a sponsor, therefore, I didn't have permission to go in. My husband assured the soldier at the counter that his son had a ticket waiting, but she said there was not. We were there from 7 am until 10 am trying to get in touch with the right people to obtain a sponsor for me. Finally, I told him to drop me off at the hotel and go see his son in the honors ceremony. So, we did just that. I took a nap in the meantime. Finally, he called to say that he would come get me and we had a sponsor. His son's friend took me into the checkpoint office with his ID and mine. He vouched for me and I had a ticket to enter the base for the rest of the weekend festivities. Without a sponsor, I would have been either on my own, or my husband would have stayed with me and missed his son's graduation events. Neither case would have been good. It was all about who we knew, not who we were.
Heaven is a lot like that. All the world religions with the exception of Christianity rely on how good a person is and what good things they have done to reach their version of "heaven". Hindus work off Karma to reach Nirvana and become a god eventually. Islam has a bunch of things to do to get into different levels of heaven. Humanists believe mankind can work to improve everything to make things better for a common good, yet there is no life after death. What sets Christians apart is that we reach Heaven after we die because of Who we know. The Bible says that we can't earn salvation otherwise we would boast about what all we did to get it. Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV "For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, otherwise any man should boast. " I was someone who thought I had to go to church, do Christian things, and say "Yes" to the questions the minister asked when I became a member of the church. At the age of 26, I realized I was sitting on the fence with faith.Remembering that Romans 10:19 NIV says, "Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." I prayed to accept Jesus as my Savior and my life began to change.
I remember having conversations with my father about faith. He claimed to be agnostic. Dad was actually upset with Christians he knew who claimed to have faith but their behavior was totally the opposite. One time, he said he had a dream that there was a party and we were all invited. When we all got to the gate, we had tickets and were let in. He didn't have a ticket and was left outside as the gate closed. I realized that God was telling him he didn't have what he needed to get into Heaven. I shared salvation with him, but he turned it down. Will he be there when I go? I don't know. I do know that many others shared Jesus with him throughout his life and that nurses who were Christians ministered to him before he died. I hope so.
What about you? If you died today and God asked you why should He let you in, what would you say? Jesus said there will be many who say, "Lord, Lord", but he will say, " I never knew you." The Bible says that that" if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9 NIV. All that is necessary is to pray admitting you are a sinner separated from God by your sin, accept that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, and that He rose from the dead to give you a new life. If you have, Praise God! If not, why not do that today? You never know when it could be too late and the Gates of Heaven will not open for you.
God bless you!