If you want to go to heaven, you will have to walk
by Robert C. Oliver Contributing columnist
There are many modes of transportation available to man today, even to some that will take one to the moon or possibly other planets. However, cars, trains, boats and aircraft will all fail if utilized in an attempt to get to heaven. The book of Genesis records an attempt of man to build a tower, “whose top may reach unto heaven” (Gen. 11:4), but they could not reach heaven in that manner either. The fact is, if man is to reach a heavenly home, he will have to walk to get there. Of course, we are using the definition of “walk” that relates to how one behaves himself, not the one that refers to putting one foot in front of the other. There are many examples in God’s word where the word “walk” is used in reference to how one conducts him or her self. Jeremiah told Judah, “Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein” (Jer. 6:16). The apostle Paul used the concept of walking on several occasions in his epistle to the church at Ephesus. Let us consider just how these brethren had to walk in order to reach heaven.
We might start with the fact that they had to become a part of God’s family before they could even begin the journey to heaven. In the second chapter of Ephesians, there is a very real contrast in the way that the Ephesians had walked and how they were then to walk. Paul said that “in time past ye walked according to the course of this world” (Eph. 2:2), but he said just a few verses later, “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). This change came about when they became Christians. They heard the preaching of the gospel (Acts 19:8). They believed that gospel which they heard (Acts 19:18). Paul had commanded repentance of their sins (Acts 20:21) and they were baptized into Christ for the remission of their sins (Acts 19:5; Acts 2:38). It was at the point of baptism that they were required to walk in a different manner than before. Paul said, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3-4). Thus, starting with their baptism, the way they walked was legislated by God and God legislated both positive as well as negative aspects of their walk.
Negatively speaking, they were not to walk according to the world. This was seen in Eph. 2:2 where he points out that such was the way they had formerly walked and those who did so were “the children of disobedience”. To the Corinthians, this same writer told them to “Come out from among them and be ye separate saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing” (II Cor. 6:17). John said it this way; “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I John 2:15). Also, Paul warns these Ephesian brethren to not walk according to their own mind. He wrote, “that henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind” (Eph. 4:17). Far too often, that is just exactly the way many walk today, the way they think they should walk. The big problem with this is, what we think is not what we will be judged by in the last day. “For my thoughts are not your thought s neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord” (Isa. 55:8). There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12). Jeremiah wrote, “I know that the way of man is not in himself, it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23).
Positively speaking, Paul gives instruction on the proper way to walk if one desires to reach a heavenly home. He tells us that we must “walk as children of light” (Eph. 5:8). Children of light are those who live in accordance to the light of the glorious Son of God (John 1:4-5). It is much the same as what the apostle John wrote, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7). But, Paul also commands that we walk worth of our calling. He said, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called” (Eph. 4:1). This addresses the subject of being living examples of what a child of God is. Jesus had said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). The Ephesians were instructed to walk circumspectly (Eph. 5:15). Use caution, not subjecting oneself to needless temptations. Paul instructed that we walk in good works (Eph. 2:10).
Christians are always to be ready to do good to all men (Gal. 6:10). And, certainly we would not want to leave out this last one. “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us” (Eph. 5:2). Now you know, if you want to get to heaven, you will have to walk.
(Editor’s note: Send any questions or comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org)
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