Hope of Heaven

Matthew 7:21 Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”

If I was to ask you, “what does it take to get to Heaven?” or wondered about the thought, “Who qualifies to enter?” what would be your first response?

Many people think that everyone is going to Heaven, the thought of there being a universal law that brings condemnation just doesn’t work in our culture anymore. Can everyone enter into the presence of a Holy God, regardless of how they lived their lives or who they lived for?

If people can enter Heaven regardless of what they believe, that would mean no matter what you did in life, whether they believed in God or how much evil they did in their lives, they would still get a free pass. If everyone qualified that would mean Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Kim, Mao, and every genocidal maniac in history will be free from the consequence of evil they perpetrated on others. The very idea that God brings judgement upon evil would be negated if there were no punishment or reward. If Heaven was an open door, the reward for doing good would also have very little meaning since everyone would be considered good.

The world claims that mankind is inherently good.

Any statement that conflicts with biblical principles has its roots in deception. The Bible clearly states that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”(Rom. 3:23)

The average lifespan of an adult male in the U.S.A., is 76 years, for women a little longer, I think it’s around 80. If you don’t get some horrible cancer, hit by a car, deadly virus, heart disease, or a myriad of other things that can end your life, you may even live a little longer.

After this brief time on earth, you are then faced with the consequences of the decisions you’ve made on earth— particularly what you did and why you did them.

According to God’s Word there are <2> possible destinations after we die– Hell which is a place of eternal torment, darkness, fire, worms, chains, hopelessness, with screaming and gnashing of teeth or Heaven, with streets of pure gold, gates made of pearl, precious stones, clear rivers, trees of life, tree bearing good fruit, where God’s light illuminates it and the throne of God is in the midst of it.

My focus on Heaven can be a bit short sighted if I don’t read the end of the story.

Revelation 21:1 “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.”

What we’re told is that the current heavens and earth, as we know them will be no more. This is bad news for everyone who worships “Mother Earth”, since she has no power of herself, she certainly won’t be able to preserve her followers. Being good stewards of the earth reminds us that the owner is returning. For all who have defiled God’s Creation, they will be kicked out.

This world is only temporary so when we witness patterns of climate change or extinctions of a species, these aren’t apocalyptic patterns of hopelessness and fear but that our hope rests somewhere else, a place that will all be made new.

A New Kingdom Comes

Who qualifies for Heaven?

Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”

The Kingdom of Heaven has specific criteria for all who may enter. God does love the world and God does indeed forgive sin, but God’s love was specifically revealed through Jesus’ death and resurrection for a purpose.

John 6:40 “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

To receive the Son is to receive life. For all who reject the Son of God, they reject the measure that God’s love was offered to them.

If people hate the Son of God, why would they want to spend eternity with Him? They are in a bit of a quandry, they don’t want to follow Jesus and they don’t want to suffer in Hell for their rebellion. Ultimately what people want is the same thing Lucifer wanted…to be like God. They want to form their own reality, make their own rules and subject everyone else to their standards that they deem as right.

1 John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith.

The faith of God’s people is placed in Jesus Christ. This faith is rewarded with God’s down payment on earth—His Spirit.

2 Corinthians 5:5 “Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.”

The love for God expressed by the people of God gives them the right to partake of God’s love by His Spirit within them. The indwelling Spirit of God is the ticket to Heaven. God Himself testifies of those who are His and those who are not.

The Father’s will was to send His Son to die for the sins of the world. Jesus, God’s Son, then sent us His Spirit to fill our hearts, sanctify, purify and seal us for eternity with Him. Every aspect of the Trinity is manifest in calling, saving, and sanctifying those who respond to His call.

So to answer the question, “who qualifies?”, the answer is initially…no one. We all have sinned and fall short. The good news is that Jesus became a man and qualified Himself and then gave Himself for us. He paid our redemption price, redeeming us from sin and death and has imparted His grace to all who confess and believe. This offer of grace has been extended to all, unfortunately few will heed and accept the call.

Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen”

Who will be in Heaven?

Daniel 7:18 “But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.”

The Father is on His throne and Jesus is seated next to Him, while all of the saints, (those saved by grace), will be in His presence along with the angels.

Now and to Come

Who God’s people are today is not what they will be in the future. Both those who have gone before us and those alive today will be changed— The old nature and flesh will be no more, they will be clothed in righteousness.

2 Corinthians 5:1-2 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven”

What will the new Heaven and Earth be like?

The heavens and the earth will pass away and God will make all things new.

The City of God or also known as “the New Jerusalem”, will descend upon the earth and will be as glorious in stature as well as in beauty. The dimensions of this city will be 1400 miles cubed! Revelation 21:16. That is equivalent to the distance from New York City to Tallahassee, Florida. This size is reflective in length, width and height! Imagine how many people could dwell in such a city. Imagine being in the fullness of God’s glory.

Psalm 87:3 Glorious things are spoken of you,
O city of God!

More good news….

Revelation 21:2-4 “Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

The former things have PASSED AWAY!

As crazy as this world has become, as much evil as we have seen or have experienced, as many stories of violence and inhumanity, death, disease, sadness, fear, addiction, trauma, depression…it’s all going to pass away.

Let that sink in…

All we know and see will be gone, and you know what will remain? Only the Lord, His people, and the angels who serve Him.

It will all be new!

Revelation 21:57 “Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.

Who is it that overcomes?

*Faith in Christ alone qualifies you for this future glory.

Do you know who won’t be there?

Revelation 21:8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

These are those who remain under the curse and have continued to choose their own way. They will realize the fullness of their offenses against God’s glory for rejecting the Son and blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

The work of the Spirit is to call people to Christ. For those who reject His call, they blaspheme the Spirit of God; in other words, they disregard the work of God nor do they render Him Holy.

All Made New

Not only will heaven and earth be made new, but God’s people will no longer struggle with sin.

Revelation 22:3 “And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him

The old nature will be done away with, the corruption of the earth and heavens will be made new and good before God. The sin that ruined everything and the ones who spread this sin will be cast into the Lake of Fire forever.

The Kingdom of God will rule and reign over all creation forever.

The Kingdom of God has begun now in the hearts of every true believer. If you want to be in this Kingdom, there is only one door.

John 10:9 “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”

God’s people bear His mark!

Revelation 22:4-5 They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.”

The sun will be no more, the Lord will illumine our reality. Death and disease will only be a distant memory, and joy will be upon the countenance of all who dwell there.

Isaiah 51:11 “And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”

The Lord will return soon, the signs are everywhere. He promises that when He does return, He will not come as a suffering servant but as a conquering King.

Revelation 22:12 And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I Am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”

This life is far too short to let the world drag you down any longer. We have a finite time on this earth and then the reality of eternity will be upon us. Live faithfully, allow the power of God to strengthen you and overcome the darkness by His might. Be salt and light to a world that is perishing, maybe the Lord will use you to draw others to His side.

Our reality is going to change dramatically–it is much closer than you think. Be ready.

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