Thursday, January 9, 2014

Entering Heaven

Works and "rule-keeping" alone will never get you there

Romans 9:30 - 32 (NIV) What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal.  Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone.
In Romans chapter 9 we read about Paul’s burden for the people of Israel. Paul himself was an Israelite, but was deeply sorrowed by the way they had missed what God was doing among them. Instead of trusting God, they tried to earn their way to him by being good enough and keeping every law...perfectly.

We will never be good enough or keep the law perfect enough for God. There was only one man who walked the earth who did that and his name was Jesus. Jesus stepped out of his perfect heaven and chose to walk this earth to provide an example for us to follow and then ultimately pay the penalty for all our sin – past, present, and future. Grace and mercy are poured over us every day because of God’s great love for and patience with us. He wants an intimate relationship with us… but sometimes we’re just too busy trying to keep his laws or earn our way into heaven by being a “good and moral” person. That’s just not enough. It is only through Christ that we will ever have a close and personal relationship with God the Father.

Even though “works” will not earn our way into Heaven or into a close personal relationship with God, it is true that He uses his people to accomplish his work. Throughout the Bible we read story after story to support this truth. For example: God made a promise to Abraham that he would be the father of a great nation. At the time, Abraham was very old as was his wife. But God promised, and Sarah gave birth to Isaac (Gen.21:2). God also made a promise to Rebekah (Gen 25:21-23), telling her that there were two nations in her womb and the older son would serve the younger. Even before events took place, God chose people and placed them where he needed them to accomplish his purposes (i.e. Moses, Esther, Gideon, Daniel, David).

God chose the Jewish nation to be His people. Yet they missed the Messiah, who had been prophesied for many generations, living among them pointing the way to God. They completely missed Jesus because they were too bogged-down trying to following the law perfectly. What they should have focused on was Jesus and how he fulfilled Old Testament prophesy.

I urge you not to miss it. Don’t miss eternity because you’re trying to get there by following the law perfectly or "working" your way in. Put your faith, hope and trust in Jesus Christ; it is only through him we are forgiven and have eternal life.

Matthew 7:13-15 (NIV)  “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

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