When someone dies, we often hear things like this:
“She is in a better place.” OR “He is out of pain.” OR “We will see her again someday.”
Folks, I hate to break this to you, but those words often are meaningless. The very words meant to comfort are often of no value whatsoever. I hope they are true for your loved one, but they may not be.
I remember when my father passed away hearing those words by his well-meaning friends. I was taken aback by the assumption of heaven upon death. Heaven is not automatic and not everyone goes there.
The Bible, the Word of God, is very clear about the way to heaven.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
~ Romans 3:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life
through Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 6:23
If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord
and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God,
and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. ~ Romans 10:9-10
You must be saved to go to heaven. And yes, I said, “saved.” This is not some weird word that church people use to scare people. It’s in the Bible.
As we approach Christmas and celebrate the birth of Jesus, remember that Jesus was born, and then died and was raised from the dead for every single one of us! Believing this makes you right with God and grants you eternal life in heaven. Eternal life (heaven) is a free gift – by believing in Jesus. Being a good person and doing good deeds is not the ticket to heaven. Believing in Jesus, the son of God – our SAVIOR - is the way to eternal life!
My dad and his oldest brother (my uncle) were both diagnosed with terminal cancer within a month of each other in the beginning of 2010. My uncle passed away on April 18th that year, then my dad four months later on August 17th. My uncle was very involved in his church and a devout Catholic, whereas my dad was quite the rascal and did not attend church except on a few occasions. After my uncle’s funeral, my dad, who by then was in a wheelchair and clearly knew his days living with brain cancer were numbered, said to me, “If Ed didn't make it to heaven – I don’t stand a chance.” That opened up one of the most beautiful conversations I could ever have imagined with my dad! I had the chance to talk about Jesus with my dad and assure him that his sinful life was not a barrier to heaven, but simply believing in Jesus was the way to eternal life! His 69 years of sin were erased because of what Jesus did on the cross – and dad believed that in his heart! When I get to heaven, dad will be welcoming me! Thank you Jesus!
I don’t know what’s in your heart – only God knows our hearts – but I do pray that you let Jesus into your heart this Christmas if you have not already done so. Regardless of what you have done, and whatever your sins are (we are ALL sinners!) - heaven can be for you! Jesus is God’s free gift to us and what a reason to celebrate! Take time to thank God for this gift – Jesus - the gift of eternal life.
I love you all! xo