There are really only two kinds of people in this world. They are those who are heaven bound...and those who won't be going there. Heaven is a very special place that requires an advance reservation. It is not simply a place where we show up at the gate when we die, and then, try to make our case for admission. In fact, without that reservation, we would not even catch a glimpse of heavenís gate, but instead, we would be immediately ushered away to await our final judgment at the Great White Throne.
The absurd notion of St. Peter standing at the heavenly gate with a clipboard in hand, asking those standing in line whether they have been bad or good, is a worldly fairy tale. Although it has been the subject of many jokes, some people actually believe it. The truth is, however, that story is a mockery of the Word of God.
The cost of the reservation was paid by Jesus' shed blood and death on the cross, where He suffered and died in our place to purchase our redemption. He took all the sin of the world upon Himself, including yours and mine, and paid sin's full price for us. Then, by His resurrection, He was victorious over death and the grave, that all who believe might have eternal life through Him.
His sacrifice is a free gift offered to all who would humbly reach out to accept it. We must believe in our heart that He paid the sin penalty in full for you and me...that we are forever lost without Him...and that anything we attempt to do of ourselves to earn salvation, or to make ourselves more worthy in the eyes of God, is all for nothing.
His salvation offer requires that we place our complete faith and trust in Him alone...that we ask forgiveness and repent of our sin-filled life...and that we invite Him into our life, changing us into the kind of person He would have us be. Finally, we must boldly declare before others that Jesus is Lord of all.
Jesus said that He is the only Way, the only Truth, and the only Life. He alone holds heavenís reservation for you and me, but we must deliberately reach out to Him by faith to receive it. Without it, no one will enter through heaven's gate.
Are you absolutely certain you have your reservation?
Don, this is so true. The image of St Peter is so ingrained in our culture that those who do not read the Bible assume it is true. A skit at VBS last week had an angel playing that role. The "dead" had to each give her their card. One even joked "St Peter, I assume." But the skit did have the redeming value that nothing the people did got them into heaven (not church attendance, or good works or anything else). Then the last one an actor representing Jesus came out and gave the angel His card to be used in her place. Then He stepped on the scale for acceptance or decline into heaven for His child. She had her reservation where the others didn't.