Last updated: September 05. 2014 5:45AM - 271 Views
By Robert Oliver Contributing columnist

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The question that makes up our title presumes that one already believes in God, heaven and hell. Obviously, those without such belief have no desire to go to somewhere they do not believe exist. But to the rest of us, the question is a valid one. Do you want to go to heaven?

If you do, God has made it possible for you to do so. It is by the grace of God that one can have salvation (Eph. 2:8), and the apostle Paul told Titus, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in the present world” (Titus 2:11-12). There is a connection here between the grace of God and the word of God. Notice that the grace of God that bringeth salvation teaches one to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present word. This connection between the grace of God and the word of God is also seen in the words of Paul to the elders of the Ephesian church. He said, “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). God’s word has been revealed to man that we might be able to go to heaven. It is God’s desire that all men would be saved. Paul told Timothy, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (I Tim. 2:3-4).

God has made salvation possible for you by sending His only begotten Son to die for the sins of man. Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Paul wrote, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). The apostle John wrote, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (I John 4:9-10). If one desires to go to heaven, their excuse for not doing so cannot be, “there is no way” for God has made available the way to heaven.

However, though God has made available a way to heaven for each and every one of us, God has not legislated that each and every one of us go to heaven. In other words, God does not make us go to heaven. He has made the way possible and has urged all to come. But, not all will come. Far too many passages in the New Testament attest to the fact that many will not enter for any to argue that all will enter. Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). In the great judgment day scene that Jesus painted, there is a great separating as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats, and of the goats on His left hand it is said, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:32, 41). It is a matter of choice for each individual. Jesus said of Jerusalem, “…how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens, under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matt. 23:37). It was not that they “could not”, but that they “would not”. They choose not to serve the Lord.

From this point; from the point of one choosing to take advantage of the availability of a home in heaven, there are four words that we will briefly mention that will determine if one makes heaven their home or not. The first of these words is the word “obedience”. God demands obedience to the word of His Son, Jesus Christ (Matt. 17:5; Heb. 5:8-9; Rom. 1:16-17; John 12:48). The second word is the word “sacrifice”. Man must be willing to sacrifice certain things in order to assure his home in heaven. It may be some of one’s family and friends (Matt. 10:34-38). It may be the riches of this world (Matt. 16:26). As the apostle Paul told the Corinthians, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you” (II Cor. 6:17). And, then there is the word “work”. Work is not a dirty word in our material life nor our spiritual life. It takes obedience to the gospel to become a Christian and it takes continued “work” as a Christian to reach our home in heaven. Jesus said, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matt. 9:37-38). And our last word is, “perseverance”. Never, never give up. Paul said, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Gal. 6:9). In the letter Jesus had John write to the church at Smyrna, He said, “…be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Rev. 2:10. If you want to go to heaven, you can!

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