Weekly Devotional 8-19-19 Are You Sure of Heaven?
Many hope that when they pass from this life, they will go to heaven. Some of the many believe that because they have lived a decent life, they will be accepted. Others trust in the many supposed good works they have done. And others believe that because they have been active in and supportive of their church, they will be accepted. But, are these things qualifiers? Scripture says otherwise. Turning to the Gospel of John, we read: “1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.’3 Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ 4 Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’ 5 Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit'” (John 3:1-8 NKJB)
The qualifier of an entrance into heaven, Jesus said, is a spiritual rebirth. He went on to say that this was entirely the work of God, the Holy Spirit. The term born again means, to be born from above. It is God who grants spiritual life; it does not happen as the result of one’s efforts. The apostle Paul affirms this in his letter the Ephesians. He wrote: “1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:1-10).
The record of Scripture informs us that Paul was a very religious man, faithful to Judaism, but was spiritually dead. Luke (the writer of the Gospel that bears his name, and the book Acts) records that Paul, known as Saul, was on his way to Damascus to arrest and jail Christians because of his zeal again them. But while on his way, Jesus appeared to him and convicted him of what he was doing; This led to his conversion, and salvation. (Please read; Acts 9:1-19).
Paul became one of the great defenders of Christianity. He indeed was a changed man. Before Jesus apprehended him, he served his religion, Judaism, but afterward, He served his Savior and Lord vigorously. He was eventually arrested, imprisoned, and killed because he refused to denounce his faith in Christ. His spiritual rebirth resulted in a denial of self and a life that honored the God of heaven.
Surely, if we are rational, we hope to enter heaven when we pass through death’s door. But, let me ask, what is your hope based on, self-effort, whatever form that may be, or trusting in the finished work of Jesus? We like Paul, need to be born from above.
Returning to Jesus conversation with Nicodemus, we read “14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God” (John 3:14-21 NKJB).
One’s way to heaven is through the Lord Jesus Christ. Saved are those who trust in Him. Have you trusted in Him?
Transforming power; The Work of God on Behalf of Man