I heard it again the other day. That question that every minister within the churches of Christ and almost every member has heard, especially if you live in the Bible Belt. “I heard that the “Church of Christ” thinks you are the only ones going to heaven. Do you believe that?” Or some variation of that accusation.
I have my prepared answer. So I gave it, “Honestly, I don’t believe all of us are going to make it.”
When I reply that way I get one of two responses.
- A look of shock and disbelief followed by, “What?!?”
- A chuckle that says, “I think I know what you mean.”
Deflecting the question this way or some other way gives me an opportunity to explain what the Bible teaches. (A friend of mine deflects the question with a question saying, “Who told you that, I would like to talk to them. If it was someone in the churches of Christ, I am sorry that they said that. I have never said that.”) This redirection allows me to tell them who the Bible says is going to heaven.
Who are the only ones going to heaven?
Who are the only ones going to heaven? Who will be in heaven? Those are the questions that need to be asked and answered. God’s word answers that question simply. We will get to the answer in a few minutes. but first . . .
- You will not get to heaven because you assemble with the (Insert name) Church of Christ.
- You will not get to heaven because you assemble with the Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, AME, Disciples of Christ, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, CME, Church of God, Assembly of God, need I go on?
- You will not get to heaven because you attend a non-denominational church or attend a small group from the Church of ______________.
- You will not get to heaven because your parents brought you up in a church.
- You will not get to heaven because you are a good person. You may be a good person, but that is not enough.
You can only get to heaven if you are not a candidate for the wrath of God. That is you will only get to heaven if your sins are forgiven. God hates sin and will act in rage toward it and those who practice sin. And the wages of that sin is death (eternal separation from God) Romans 6:23a.
My problem is that I am not perfectly without sin. Your problem is . . . neither are you. Rom 2:23 We have a dilemma!
We have a dilemma!
To enter heaven, I must be free from sin, but I am not perfectly sinless. I cannot make heaven on my own.
There is good news!
Read Rom 6:23 again. The wages of sin is death – BUT the FREE GIFT of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
There is the hope! There is the answer. God freely gives eternal life to those who are in Christ. Look at Romans 8:1-4. Through Christ, God answered the sin problem fulfilling the requirement of Law that says only the sinless can enter heaven. Maybe that is why the Apostle Peter says, “But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.” (Act 15:11)
That grace is ours when we are in Christ. Paul describes being in Christ in Galatians 3:25ff, “But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” Through faith we put on Christ when we are immersed into Him.
When we call on the name of the Lord putting our lives in his, our sins are forgiven, “Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.” (Act 22:16). From that moment on we must continue to live for Christ who is our life (Col 3:1-4). From that moment on whatever we do in life and in worship we do according to His will as authorized by Him (Col 3:17). The standard of our lives and our worship is what Christ instructs (John 12:48).
To give a simpler answer those that make it to heaven are:
- Those who are God’s children
- Those who guide their lives and worship according to what is taught in God’s Word.
Now the question for you and me is two-fold:
- Am I (are you) in Christ?
- Am I following God’s will (His Word – the Bible) as seriously and closely as I can?
* Note: I have turned off comments on this post to allow me to focus on some other writing and topics of study.