By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen
My theme is an important one: is it hard to qualify for heaven? Most individuals would say “Yes!” Or at least they would say we must put forth good effort, and hope God will let us into heaven. Some might compare qualifying for heaven to qualifying to graduate from high school or college. That is, if we get good grades, we will graduate. Others might compare it to becoming an Olympic athlete. It takes a lot of sweat, determination, and effort to work one’s way from the bottom all the way up to Olympic competition. And then you have to compete for the medals you could win. Others might compare it to applying for a job. We fill out an application listing our education, training, and experience, and hope to be asked to go in for an interview. The employer then looks over our application to see if we qualify for an interview. If we do qualify, we go to the interview, and the employer then makes a decision about whether or not we are suitable for the job.
Yes, many think it is hard to qualify for heaven. But according to the Bible, which is God’s infallible Word, the exact opposite is true. The Bible teaches that we cannot merit acceptance into heaven. Our personal sinfulness has made it impossible for us to qualify for heaven on the basis of merit. The Bible deals with this subject quite extensively, sometimes in simple ways, sometimes in profound ways. The New Testament’s Gospel of John presents this subject in both simple and profound ways. It would be good to carefully read through that Gospel. In chapter 20, verses 30 and 31, the apostle John says he recorded some of the miracles of the Lord Jesus Christ so that they would convince unbelievers to believe in the Lord, who would then give them eternal life as a gift, not because they merit it. To read more profound teaching about the simple way God has provided for qualifying us for heaven, read the apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatian Christians, and read the first five chapters of his letter to the Roman Christians. It is striking that, though these letters of Paul are quite profound, they both lead to the same point, which is the fact that we cannot qualify for heaven by good behavior. Instead, we qualify for it by simply believing on the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior. In other words, God gives us salvation as an unmerited gift.
Evangelist John R. Rice preached and wrote an excellent sermon on this subject. Through reading or hearing this sermon, thousands of individuals have come to know the wonderful joy of salvation, and have found assurance that by believing in Jesus Christ they qualify for heaven. If you would like to read this sermon, click on the following link. You will be glad you did! And then share it with someone else. By doing so, the Lord can use you to lead someone else to become a Christian. Here’s the link: http://www.wholesomewords.org/resources/saved.html