Heaven's Admission Requirements
I distinctly remember the first time that I ever rode on a roller coaster. It was at Disney World and I was four years old at the time. One of the things I remember though is in order to get on this ride you had to be so tall. Four year olds are not very tall, especially me. I stood against a decorated ruler, and the person responsible for allowing children on the ride let me go. From what I remember I think I barely scrapped by. My brother who was two at the time stayed with my mom, and I rode with my aunt and cousin. Rides are not the only things that have a standard for admission.
Many people from different nations and different belief systems look forward to heaven or something like it. Most people talk of it as one of the significant motivating factors for living a right life. What does it take for that hope to be realized? There are certain conditions for entrance into the kingdom of God. We are going to be taking a look at what those conditions are.
First it would be well to start off with those Scriptures that talk about who will not be there.
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9,10.
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21.
“Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” Romans 1:29-32.
It is a long list, but it is well worth reading.
How many of us have been in the list? I know I have been multiple things under this list. If we still do such things as are on that list like the grievous sins of adultery, murder or drunkenness, or some of the lightly esteemed sins such as covetousness, pride or gossip, regardless of how much good we have done, we will not inherit the kingdom of God. Some have the mistaken idea that the righteousness of Christ covers transgression.
“But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor.” Galatians 2:17,18.
When Christ justifies a person, sinful habits are torn down. One who commits sin does away with Christ’s work. That is why no one who is righteous as far as the courts above is concerned will be found doing any sin. Sinners will have no place in the courts above.
Does this mean that anyone who has done these things shall never enter the pearly gates? No, it is referring to those who are still doing them. Paul continues from the first section of this list in 1 Corinthians 6:11,
“And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
As he testified before Agrippa of his experience with Jesus on the road to Damascus, he shared what Christ told him was his calling.
“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” Acts 26:18.
Those who are sanctified are those who will receive the inheritance of the kingdom of God. While you may still be under that list, there is hope because the Corinthians managed to get off of it. They have a hope of heaven when Christ comes to take His people home and so may we.
It is not only those who perform sin in the outward life that will not be there, but those that commit it in heart will also be excluded. Christ talked about heart sin regarding adultery in His sermon on the mount, He talked about heart sin regarding murder, and He talked about the sin of covetousness which can only happen in the heart when He spoke the law on Sinai. Christ mentioned that the heart is where sin has its spring. The issue has been in the fountain of the heart and not the stream that comes forth. Lucifer was not cast out of heaven for being an adulterer. He was not cast out of heaven for being a murderer. He was cast out of heaven because of a prideful heart. Sin when it takes place has its origin in the heart.
The principle of the law and everything the prophets have said is to love the Lord your God with all the heart, mind, strength and soul and as a result our neighbor as ourselves. John defines transgression this way,
“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” 1 John 3:4.
Sin strikes directly at the principle behind the law. Those who are in heaven will be in perfect conformity to it. When Christ was asked the question in Luke 10:25 “what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”, he turned a question back on the enquirer: “What is written in the law? how readest thou?” To which his questioner replied, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” Jesus told him he had the right answer. That is the condition for eternal life.
The spirit of heaven is love to God and then others as oneself. Christ demonstrated that when He became a man. It was the violation of this principle in heaven and on earth that has barred Lucifer, his angels, and mankind from the presence of God. It will not be until this principle is restored in us that man will be reunited into the presence of God.
Do you love others at all times? Do you yield perfect obedience to God in love for Him? If you do not, you are far from alone. Our natural condition is in opposition to this law. For we are born of the flesh, and the carnal (fleshly) mind is enmity against God and is not subject to the law of God neither indeed can be (Romans 8:7). To address this need is why Christ came to change us from sinners to be righteous in thought and deed. This is what the gospel is all about, and until we realize that we can not reform our behavior without this transformation, we will be like the disciples toiling at the oars all night through the storm until Christ speaks the word of peace to the stormy sea of our hearts. May we seek Christ to change us and abandon working at the oars of our efforts.