Am I Going To Heaven? (Part 5) : The Guarantee

Posted by on Feb 18, 2014 in Articles, Interviews & Articles | 0 comments

Ever since I started buying comic books digitally, I’ve been going through a lot of iTunes credit. So I’m always on the lookout for discounted iTunes cards. There’s this site I check out that keeps a record of who is selling these cards at the cheapest rate. When I’m running low on credit, I pull up the site, find out who’s got the best discount, then go shopping. But even though I’ve seen the price on the website, even though I’ve checked out the stores catalogue, I’m always a bit apprehensive when I walk up to the counter. What if I got it wrong? What if they’re not really on sale? Will I look like an idiot when I ask for the discount and there isn’t one? Although I’ve been promised the discount, I’m never sure I’m going to get it until I hand over my money. God has promised me, through his Word, that the death of Jesus has paid for my sin and that if I believe in Jesus, I’m going to heaven. But how can I be sure? How do I know that Jesus really has deal with my sin? How can I know that God actually will follow through on his promise and let me into heaven?  When Jesus was on earth, he knew he had a mission and he knew what it would take to complete it. In Mark 10:33-34, Jesus said “The Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priest and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.” If Jesus had died on the cross and stayed dead, then we would have no assurance what so ever that we would be saved. Instead, Jesus conquered death. He went to the grave and then told death who was boss. One of the reasons Jesus came back from the dead was to prove he had the power to deal with sin. If he could take on death and win, then how much more could he save us from sin? After all, God is not in the practice of making promises that he can’t keep. Throughout the Bible, time and time again, God has proven himself. If he makes a promise, he keeps it. We see in the Bible that God promises that God’s people, that is, people who follow his son Jesus, will be saved.    ”What then shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son,...

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Am I Going To Heaven? (Part 4) : The Only Way

Posted by on Feb 18, 2014 in Articles, Interviews & Articles | 0 comments

A number of years ago, there was a show called John Safran’s Music Jamboree. Each week, John Safran would take his signature sense of humour and journalism and look at the world of music culture. In one of the episodes, Safran looked at one the most exclusive night clubs in Melbourne and wondered what it would take to get nine 18 an 19 year old males through the door. Watching from a surveillance van across the road, the first attempt was a miserable failure. The bouncer didn’t even open the door before telling them to be on their way. But Safran had a plan. The next night he called the club up and told them to expect a big name band from the US to rock up. That they should be prepared for them and put their name on the list. How would these young men manage to convince the club that they were famous enough to let in? They would dress up like Slipknot, a 9 piece metal band, well known for wearing overalls and masks. And it worked. Not only did they get in, but they got given a private room and gave out autographs to fans. Now I know I’m not good enough to get into heaven on my own. But what if like these young men, I could get my name on the guest list? What if there was a name that could get me into heaven? A name that would guarantee me entry? Well there is such a name. And that name is Jesus.   We’re not good enough for heaven and deserve punishment. But God still loves us. He doesn’t want us to go to hell, even though that’s where we should be headed. But because of what we have done and because of what we have failed to do, hell is our destination. And there’s nothing we can do to escape it on our own. We need someone to save us. And God is the God who saves. God sent his son Jesus to earth. Jesus, the only one who never sinned. Never did anything wrong. Never disobeyed God. Never rejected God as king of the universe. And because of that, Jesus is the only person in all of history who is good enough to walk through the doors of heaven. When Jesus was here on earth, he had a mission. His mission was to save us. To open up the gates of heaven so that we could walk on in. To do that, he went to the cross. He allowed himself to be sentenced to death. Even though he had committed no crime. He willingly took the floggings and faced the...

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Am I Going To Heaven? (Part 3) : What Are the Entry Requirements For Heaven?

Posted by on Feb 18, 2014 in Articles, Interviews & Articles | 0 comments

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...

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Am I Going To Heaven? (Part 2) : What Are My Afterlife Options?

Posted by on Feb 18, 2014 in Articles, Interviews & Articles | 0 comments

  When I take my wife out to dinner, it usually begins with us trying to work out which restaurant to go to. I’ll start by asking her where she wants to go. She’ll say she doesn’t know. And then I’ll say I don’t know. Then she’ll ask me to give her some options to choose from. And then we’ll narrow it down to one choice. And then, knowing my luck, the place will be shut and we have to go through the whole process again. It’s good to know your options before you settle on a decision. Especially when the decision is where you are going to spend eternity. I want to go to heaven, but before I get my heart set on it, I really should investigate the alternatives. So the way I see it, just looking from the Christian point of view, there are three possible destinations when we die: heaven, hell, and purgatory aka limbo. We can automatically cross out ideas like reincarnation or the Norse place called Valhalla because they’re not part of the Christian mindset. This purgatory place is worth investigating. From what I understand, it’s some kind of waiting place. The idea is that if you’re not good enough for heaven when you die, and not bad enough for hell, then purgatory is where you end up. Some people say it’s a boring place where nothing much happens. Others say it is a place where you get punished, but only for a short time. So you hang out in purgatory until you burn off all those little nagging sins until you’re good enough to get into heaven. That doesn’t sound too bad. I understand the appeal. It’s good to have a backup just in case I’m not good enough to get into heaven. Here’s that second chance that everyone loves. The problem with that, is that it sounds all well and good, but purgatory is not a real option. It’s not even a real place. You won’t find it mentioned anywhere in the Bible, unless you go hunting for books that most people agree aren’t really Scripture. And that’s not just because the writers of the Bible just forgot to mention it. The Bible is pretty clear: there are only two place you can go after you die. In John 3:36, Jesus says “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” So there’s two options here. Either it’s eternal life (heaven) or God’s wrath, his anger, remains (hell). There’s no middle option. No fence sitting. No loop holes. So when I die, I’m either going to be...

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Am I Going To Heaven? Part 1: The Big Question

Posted by on Feb 18, 2014 in Articles, Interviews & Articles | 0 comments

There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold. And she’s buying the stairway to heaven. When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed, with a word she can get what she came for. Ooh, ooh, and she’s buying the stairway to heaven.   Stairway to Heaven by Led Zepplin is one of those really well known songs that I just don’t understand. Great piece of music, but the lyrics are a complete mystery to me. There’s someone in there about “a bustle in your hedgerow”. I mean really, what’s that supposed to mean? I don’t have a clue here. But I am intrigued by this idea of a stairway to heaven. That somewhere there’s this massive staircase you can walk up, up through the clouds, until you get to the top and there’s this whopping big sign that says “Welcome To Heaven!” I really doubt that a stairway like is exists but it’s a fascinating idea. Because I have a lot of questions about heaven. How do I get to heaven? If there’s no stairway, is there an elevator? What will heaven look like? Will it be all clouds with guys in funny dresses and wings? What will I look like in heaven? Will I look like myself or do I get to join the funky halo club? But the biggest question for me, the question that takes precedence over all the other questions is: Am I going to heaven? All the other questions are trivial really. I’ll find out the answer when I get there. If I get there. I mean, how can I be sure that God will let me in? Why should he let me in? I’m just some nobody and he’s God. Is there something I can be doing now, in this life, to ensure I get into heaven? For me, this is a really important question. Because one day I’m going to die. And I can ensure you, I’m not looking forward to it. But one day it’s going to happen. And then what? I want to go to heaven. I’m told it’s the best place to spend the afterlife. But I have some doubts. Am I good enough? Have I met God’s selection criteria? Do I need to hand in an application form with a photo ID and three references? In this series I’m going to be tackling the big question about heaven: How can I be sure I’m going to heaven? I’ll be investigating the afterlife options, God’s entry criteria for heaven, and finally, what God has done to change the rules of the game. At the end of the day, you can be sure about where...

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