Hardly a week goes by without my hearing someone saying these words, “It’s time to get ready or I am trying to get ready to go to heaven.”
And when someone dies, people often say, “I hope he/she was ready.”
Even the great Bishop TD Jakes is known for saying, ”Get ready, get ready, get ready…..get, get, get, ready.”
Have you ever wondered to yourself, “Get ready for what?”
The general consensus is that people are talking about getting ready or being ready to go to heaven. May I submit to you, there are two important events that we all should be getting ready for and it is the church’s responsibility to distinguish between the two.
Every believer should know or have been taught that there is a big difference between being ready to go to heaven and being ready to meet the Lord.
If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior then you are ready to go to heaven, period!!! Many preachers preach the false doctrine that you have to be living something in order to go to heaven but they never tell you exactly what that means. The fact of the matter is that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world and God raised Him from the dead because He knew no one can live in such a way that would justify their entrance into heaven. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23) and if any say they have no sin, they deceive themselves, and the truth is not in them, (I John 1:8)
The only way to go to heaven is to be righteous. And the only way to be righteous is to be declared righteous by God. That is why the Bible says in Romans 3:20-26, “Therefore by the deeds of the law, (living something) there shall no flesh (man) be justified in God’s sight; for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the righteousness of God, without the law, (trying to live something) is now manifested, (available to all being witnessed by the law and the prophets. The opportunity and availability of having the righteousness of God imputed on you is made possible because of the faith of Jesus Christ and this righteousness is available unto all and upon all them that believe: and there is no difference. We as believers are justified freely because of God’s grace that comes through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ. So now God is able to declare you righteous, which is the basis of justification.
It is however, important, that you live a good holy and obedient life, as a result of being saved and born again, (declared righteous by God). But if you don’t always do so, I Corinthians 3:15 says you will suffer loss, but you will not lose your salvation. But you must accept all of this by faith and not by sight.
Every believer is ready to go to heaven but before that happens every believer must be making themselves ready to meet the Lord.. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:10 that every believer must appear before the judgment seat of Christ to receive things done in His body, whether it be good or bad. Jesus will not be judging you to determine if you should go to heaven but He will be judging you to determine the rewards you have earned or lost.
In order to be ready for that meeting with Jesus there are perhaps three things you should be ready to say to him. Like Paul said to Timothy, “You should be ready to say to Jesus, ‘I have fought a good fight.’” At the very least we should be able to tell that to Jesus. With all confidence, every time the devil, the world or my own flesh knocked me down, I got right back up to fight again.
The second thing we should be ready to say to Jesus, “I have finished my course.” We should be able to say that, at the least, I have done all that you sent me here to do. And to be able to say that requires having an intimate relationship with Jesus.
The third thing we should be ready to say to Jesus is, “I have kept the faith.” That means you have always believed what the word of God says. We should live our lives with the attitude of, if God said it then I believe it. That doesn’t mean you have always walked a straight line and crossed every “t” and dotted ever “i.” But it does mean you were consistent in walking by faith and not by sight for faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
Too many believers will not be ready to meet the Lord because they are too busy trying to get to a place (heaven), where Jesus has already prepared a place for them. As a believer you are now ready to go to heaven, but ask yourself, am I ready to meet the Lord?
Gilbert Owens is a native of Roseboro and a guest columnist for The Sampson Independent.