When I was a younger man, I used to go nightclubbing with my mates. And because my house was the closest to the club we liked to go to, everyone would meet at my place. Once all the boys were gathered, we’d do “The Check”. “The Check” involved making sure everyone was dressed properly. Because the club had a dress code. And if you didn’t meet the dress code, they wouldn’t let you in. You had to be wearing proper shoes (sneakers didn’t count) and you needed to wear a button up shirt. If anybody didn’t have one of these, they would raid my wardrobe. Once everyone was sorted, we’d head to the club. We didn’t want to risk showing up to the club without “The Check” because if we didn’t meet the requirements for entry, then they wouldn’t let us in.
If proper shoes and a button up shirt were the entry requirements for the club, what are the entry requirements for heaven? I don’t want to rock up to the gates of heaven, only to find out I missed something and get knocked back.
In Matthew 5:20, during the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Wow. That’s a big call. Back in the day, the Pharisees were the bench mark for godly behaviour. These guys were well known for how closely they followed God’s law. The Pharisees were the kind of people who never met a rule they didn’t like and want to follow. So to say that I have to be even better than a Pharisee is a pretty big bar to jump over. But then Jesus goes on “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) Man, I thought being better than a Pharisee was going to be hard. But perfection? This is going to be a problem.
The thing is, even if I somehow manage to be absolutely perfect from this second onward, which, as anyone who knows me will attest, is laughable, I still have three decades of sin behind me. Over 30 years of me rejecting God and doing the wrong thing. I’d be turned away before I can even see the gate. No matter how hard I try, I’m not going to be good enough for God. In fact, I deserve punishment for what I have done. My actions have angered God and he can’t be a God of justice if he doesn’t do something about my rebellion. So it looks like I’m headed to hell. That’s where I deserve to go and there’s nothing I can do to change things.
But what if…
What if God was to come to us?
Excerpt from “Am I Going To Heaven – Part 5? The Guarantee”:
… At some point, each of us is going to stand before God. And God will ask “Why should I let you into my heaven?”…The only answer that will count for anything is JESUS. Lord, I believe in your son Jesus. I believe he died in my place. I believe that he has taken care of the punishment that my sin deserves. I believe that because of Jesus that you’ve already welcomed me into your family.
And God will reply with an emphatic YES. Yes, you are my child. Yes Jesus has prepared a place in my heaven. Yes you can come in, even though we both know you don’t deserve it. Welcome! More ….
Written by Joel A Moroney
Associate Minister at St Luke’s Anglican Church, Liverpool, Australia
Am I Going To Heaven? (Part 1) : The big Question
Am I Going To Heaven? (Part 2) : What Are My Afterlife Options?
Am I Going To Heaven? (Part 3) : What Are the Entry Requirements For Heaven?
Am I Going To Heaven? (Part 4) : The Only Way
Am I Going To Heaven? (Part 5) : The Guarantee