I’m Going to Heaven by Pastor Steve
In a conversation with someone, I asked and was told, “I’m going to heaven.” Don’t get me wrong, I don’t know if they will or if they won’t. I’m not the one that gets to decide that and I’m glad that is the case. You might be glad, as well!
It’s funny how that conversation continues. “I’m going to heaven” is a phrase used and treated just like, “I’m going to mom’s for Christmas dinner” or “I’m going camping” or “I like to fish” or “I’m going to the game tonight.” It’s like going to heaven is something you get to decide. It is right up there with living a “good life.”
That good life includes all those things . . . cooking, camping, family time, grand parenting, birthday parties, gardening, holidays with the family, etc., etc., etc. That good life includes doing anything for anyone that needs something, always extending that listening ear, or being someone that you could call at a moment’s notice.
Possibly you used to attend church regularly. You may have been baptized somewhere, sometime in your life. Your parents sent you to Christian camp once or twice. But now. Now, you really have nothing to do with the church. Rarely, if ever do you attend outside of an invite to a wedding or show up to someone’s funeral. There is no active faith life involved.
Maybe you lost your good attendance record because of something someone said to you once. Or maybe you disagreed with the way the dinner was being served. Or maybe someone else’s child was recognized. That’s when phrases like this are common, “I am closer to God in the field than in the sanctuary.” Maybe, “they are just a bunch of hypocrites there” is the phrase you use.
Your background – your distant background – knows about God but you have never gotten to KNOW God. And when you admit it, you are truly just drifting in life. Things seem to go well, and when they don’t, you know they will eventually turn around if you work hard enough to fix the problem.
“After all, I’m not as bad as my neighbor and God loves me enough to accept how I am and let me into heaven.”
The question is, do these people truly spend eternity in heaven when they die? Again, let me assure you I don’t get to make that decision!
A Pastor George Salnave once wrote, “It seems that the Scriptures say they don’t go to heaven when they die even though some preachers may say that God loves them unconditionally and that they do [go to heaven]. But would you want to base your eternity on the word of some unscriptural feel-good preacher?”
I hear it. I hear some of your responses, “Oh, scriptures. Pastor George had to bring scripture into the discussion. I don’t really read those. I used to hear them read to me on Sunday mornings.”
Seems to me that scripture is where I need to actually go to understand if I am or I am not going to spend eternity in heaven.
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 6:23).
The wrath of God is revealed from heaven from all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth (Romans 1:18).
They neither acknowledge God or worshiped him. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6).
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him (Hebrews 11:6).
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves that the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and the blood of Christ cleanses us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned we make him a liar and his truth is not in us (1 John 1:7-10).
Do you not know that friendship with the world is an enmity with God (James 4:4-5)?
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men, by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
I realize some reading this devotional will have just skipped over the last paragraph because it was filled with scripture. Why? Because you already know them or because they speak to your heart and soul and make you uncomfortable? Maybe it is because you don’t understand them so you don’t give them your time. I urge you to go back, now, and read them again.
What are those scriptures trying to say? To me, the simple phrase, “I’m going to heaven” is meaningless unless you truly have faith in the One True God and the work of Jesus Christ on a cross, His resurrection, and His ascension. Without meeting those requirements and trying to seek God’s face daily, you are taking a chance that you MIGHT be allowed into heaven.
Actually, without faith in God, you have decided “for” yourself when you should have decided “for” Christ. The decision you have made in this moment could be the decision you make for eternity. Not many of us get an extended period of time to make decisions that determine our eternity.
Father is love. That is true. And with personal repentance you can receive forgiveness of your sins through faith in Christ. I urge you to run . . . don’t walk to Christ . . . RUN! Don’t be waiting a second longer . . . you don’t truly know how many seconds or minutes you have to make this decision.
The instructions are told in 1 John 1:7-8, “If you confess your sins, he is faithful and just to forgive your sins and the blood of Christ cleanses you from all unrighteousness.”
Some will tell you all are children of God and that is not true. John 1:12-13 says very clearly, “But to all who received him [Jesus], who believe in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
I pray for you every day and every day and every day and I lift your name to heaven that you have chosen to be a child of God. Place your trust and faith in the One True God, Jesus the Son, and in the Holy Spirit who guides and protects you.