And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
There is a running joke in my house. Every once in a while, I’ll look up and say, usually in response to my wife or daughter saying that I’ve lost it, “It’s no wonder I’m a bit challenged, do you realize that the never told me how to get to Sesame Street?” With out taking up to many column inches on the subject,let me just point out that it is true. Millions of children watched that goofy bird lead all these kids and adults to this place. All the while, that song is asking its question, “Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?” It is a question that was never, ever answered.
All kidding aside, I see and meet many people who are desperately trying to get to heaven. they are searching for the way. They need directions and don’t even know it. They call it the path to enlightenment, spiritual wholeness, or intellectual empowerment. There are also those who don’t have a name for their journey; they just figure it is going to end in heaven. They say things like, “When I meet the man upstairs,” or, this is my favorite one, ” If the pearly gate is closed, I’ll go all commando, kick it down, and plead my case.”
The question is, do we know how to get to heaven? There are those who are searching for the way, those who assume they will arrive, as some sort of forgone conclusion, and those who have the map but haven’t locked in the address on their GPS. They are therefore wandering aimlessly about.
Unlike our friends at PBS, who left us searching for Seaseme Street; God has answered the question, how do we get to heaven? The amazing part is there is nothing we can do to get there. There are no amount of miles to travel, we don’t need to map out the best route (because there is only one) and once we have accepted the GPS upload we are guaranteed to arrive!
Jesus tells us that He is the way, the truth, and the life and that no one comes to the farther except through Him (John 14:6). As I said, you don’t need to map out a way to heaven, there is only one. Someone wanting to ensure their passage into heaven must believe that Jesus lived on this earth, died for the sins of the world and rose again conquering sin, death, and the devil.
It occurred to me during a discussion with a dear friend recently that the there is a difference between knowing and believing and only the latter will result in heaven. during theses last days, I see many “Christians,” who are going through the motions: they attend church because their parents did, they think it’s a good idea (which it is) but there is no proof of the spirit in their lives. These people may even be good people! That in itself is great! In this broken and often dark place we live, we need as many good people that we can find. The problem is, good people and church going folk don’t go to heaven; saved people do.
not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
When we accepted Jesus as our savior, there was a transaction that took place. We came to the end of ourselves; meaning that we realized that we could not live in this world by ourselves anymore, we understood in a moment that alone we were powerless against the wiles of this world. There is a bible word for that: humility. Once we accept that without Jesus and His mercy and grace we amount to nothing; once we humble ourselves before the Lord of the universe we are saved by the cleansing of the Holy Spirit. From that point forward our lives are changed.
So, how does one get to heaven? We get to heaven not by doing as the “religions” of the world instruct. For the Christian there is nothing to “do” because it has already been done. Jesus has done it all in an effort to ensure that no one should perish. It is incumbent on us to accept the gift of salvation; just as the thief did in the account from Luke.
Luke 23: 40-41:40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord,[k]remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
In this passage we see the humility required to come into a relationship with Jesus. the thief recognized his sin and with a contrite heart comes to Jesus as his only hope for salvation. Dear reader, if you have not done that yet, will you pray and settle your eternity today?
Grace & Peace,