How does one get to heaven? You know, in today’s world (at least the part I live in) people don’t usually ask this question straight away because it makes everything sound fluffy and imaginary. If people start talking about heaven with pearly gates and white clouds, I don’t know about you, but I start to feel uneasy. Most of the time, when people are talking about heaven they are talking about the place that “decent” people go when they die. And I think that’s the problem. That heaven is lame. A heaven made up of people who were good enough, or at least not too bad may as well be hazy and full of harps. It’s the heaven of a fake religion. Unfortunately, it’s a religion that many many people halfheartedly believe.
The religion I’m talking about says that as long as you’re basically a good person, God will let you in. It’s a religion that shuns the murderers and the rapists and the Hitlers and the Stalins, but if you’re just a regular person paying your taxes and going to work and trying your best, you’re good enough to make the cut. It’s a religion that puts the focus on you, and the things that you do and have done. It is a self-centered religion that asks very little of you. Just don’t hurt anyone. If your idea of Christianity is anything like what I just described, you are way off. You are so far off the mark that it would be like stabbing yourself in the face in a game a darts. The crazy thing is, many people think they’re right on the bullseye.
Here is the problem with this wishy-washy half-hearted religion of morality; it has nothing to do with Jesus Christ. The whole point of Jesus coming to earth and dying on a cross wasn’t so that people could have a place to go on Sunday morning. And it certainly wasn’t so people could feel good about how good they were. He sacrificed his life so that you could have life. And how do you acquire this life? You get it by believing in him, and by allowing God to shape you into his image. It’s a process full of pain and joy and questions and answers and faith and doubt and love and death and every other aspect of life that makes it incredible and real. But the whole point of it all is God. It’s not about you. And the paradox is that you really start to live when you give up your life for his sake.
When it stops being about heaven, and it starts being about how much you love Jesus Christ for who he is and what he did, you’ll find that this kingdom of heaven is already upon you. You’re not trying to get to some place in the clouds, you are walking hand in hand with God.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14: 1-7)
The Christian understands that no one could ever be good enough to deserve heaven. The Christian understands that Jesus Christ is more precious than any vision of heaven, and he is the only reason that anyone could enter in. Jesus asks much of us, and he promises hardships and suffering. But he also promises never to forsake us. It’s a difficult path, this walk with Christ, but it is a good path and a true path and the only way to heaven. This is a heaven worth hoping for. It’s a heaven full of sinners and wretches who found forgiveness and grace and love.
It’s a heaven where Jesus Christ abides.