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Does everyone go to heaven?

If we aren’t careful we can tend to view Jesus through a very narrow lens. We can embrace a perspective that over-emphasizes His love, while forgetting about His holiness and the startling statements like this that He made when He walked the earth.

Jesus goes on to say here that only those who do the Father’s will will inherit the kingdom of Heaven. But wait, aren’t Christians saved by grace, every sin washed away by the blood of Jesus, declared righteous in God’s eyes, and granted entrance into Heaven on the basis of that profession of faith?

Absolutely this is true! Without Jesus we would have no chance at being acceptable to a Holy God. It is only by repentance and placing faith in Him for forgiveness of sins that we can be called God’s children. This is a very counter-cultural message, but Jesus is the way. The only way.

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

Yet, when we have a proper understanding of grace, we understand that God’s grace not only saves us, it enables us to live a lifestyle that is set apart, holy and pleasing to Him. His grace empowers us to do His will.

Paul expounds on this principle to the believers in Corinth when He explains that God’s grace has not only saved him, it continues to work within him to accomplish God’s will.

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 1 Corinthians 15:10

Paul wanted to be sure that the grace God extended to him was not in vain. The Greek word for vain he used meant empty, fruitless, without usefulness or success. If Paul, the writer of half of the New Testament, was constantly evaluating himself to be sure He was living for Jesus, and working to execute God's will, how much more should we?

The mark of a true Christian is not simply professed belief, but rather a life that reflects the faith he or she professes. This life is not perfect, yet in it there can be seen a steady progression of transformation, as it conforms to God’s standards.

A true believer desires to be more like Christ. They are hungry for the things of God.

If you are a professing Christian and find yourself indifferent to Bible reading, gathering together with other believers, praying, worshipping God, and aspiring to be more like Jesus, I implore you to examine yourself and your life, as Paul did, to be sure you have not believed in vain.

My heart hurts so badly for those who will hear these words from Jesus when their lives come to an end :

“Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name’? And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” {wicked, irreverent, disrespectful} Matthew 7:21-23 emphasis mine

This message is heavy on my heart today for those who claim Jesus is their Savior, yet live like He doesn’t exist. And for those who have bought into the lie that everyone goes to heaven when they die. As much as we would like this to be true; biblically, it just isn’t. Only those who repent and place faith in Jesus will be granted entrance into heaven. And true faith is shown in our actions. It is mirrored in how we live, as God’s grace empowers us to do His will.

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? Faith by iteself, if it does not have works, is dead.. You believe God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe --and shudder! James 2:14,17, 19

Tomorrow is not promised. Yet thankfully, God provides a way for us to come back to Him when we have wandered away. His mercies are new each morning. When He brings Bible truths like this across our paths, He does so for a reason. He desires for it to produce in us a change of heart and a change of life. His kindness is meant to lead us to repentance.

Examination time.

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith. 2 Corinthians 13:5a

If you are a professing believer...have you been living for Jesus? Have you actually been following Him? Or have you relied on praying a prayer, being raised in a Christian home, being baptized, being a "good" person, or any other number of external actions to get yourself into heaven?

If the honest answer is that you have not been following Jesus, there is no condemnation here. Only a heartfelt challenge to fully surrender yourself to God's will.

This day, you can re-commit your life to Him.

Today, you can repent of accepting Him as Savior yet not acknowledging Him as Lord of your life, and ask Him for forgiveness.

This day, and the rest of your days from here on out, you can follow Jesus and begin truly living for Him.

Perfection He does not require, only a heart that seeks Him and is willing to follow where He leads.

If you are reading this and you don't know what it means that Jesus died so you can be forgiven from your sins, empowered to live a holy life, and welcomed into God's family for all eternity, please reach out to me!

I would love to explain this more thoroughly to you, answer any questions you might have, and pray with you.

I believe whoever you are, wherever you are, you are reading this for a reason! God loves you and desires to be in close relationship with you, a relationship marked by faith, trust, and obedience.

There is no better place to be than in the center of His will, and a life that is fully surrendered to His Lordship.

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