Monday, February 15, 2010

Heavenly Destination On Your Own Terms?

I have been enjoying reading this month's Turning Point Magazine and Devotional from Dr. David Jeremiah's ministry. The February issue is called "Bliss - An All Inclusive Story" and is about heaven.

In the essay called "Travel-O-City - Planning a Trip of a Lifetime," Dr. Jeremiah brings up the fact that Internet online travel websites have overtaken the traditional travel agencies of the past. Recall SABRE, then CompuServe (remember that?), then America Online (AOL)? Now we have Travelocity where travelers can make their own reservations.

There are infinite numbers of ways to reach one's vacation travel destination. It's up to you! However, Dr. Jeremiah cautions that unfortunately, that same type of mentality has infected the thinking of people about heaven.

Dr. Jeremiah writes:

The World's Many Ways

Many people today believe that all humanity is headed for the same glorious destination in the afterlife and that there are many roads that will take them there. What was true of the ancient travel network in the Roman Empire ("All roads lead to Rome") is thought to be true of religious and spiritual roads to heaven.

Such thoughts in our "politically correct" environment of today are very popular. You are considered "intolerant" if you tell someone that their religious belief is wrong because what is written in the Bible flies in the face of their preconceived notions about God.

Dr. Jeremiah describes it this way:

And many adherents of those religions think that it doesn't matter which religious view one holds -- that religions are unique cultural expressions that differ in form and function but which all point to the same universal truths about God.

Have you seen the latest bumper sticker that spells out the word "COEXIST" Such a mentality illustrates Dr. Jeremiah's point. The "can't we just all get along" attitude of today frowns upon a Christian who desires to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and describe it as Truth. They are negatively tagged as "proselytizers" and shunned from the crowd who would rather "embrace their uncertainty" (as was said by Deepak Chopra during a debate with Christian Apologist Greg Koukl).

Dr. Jeremiah goes on to describe that even those with no religion at all seem to think that they will be rewarded with eternal life along with everyone else in the final analysis. These are the type of people who think that their good works will earn them a spot in heaven. They think things like "kindness to animals" will get them there, too. We can see what Dr. Jeremiah was getting at with his Travelocity comparison:

It is easy to see why the modern Internet-based travel industry is a good metaphor for the spiritual travel plans of many today: you're in charge; make your own plans; book you own flight; choose your own route; arrive at your heavenly destination on your own terms.

Sadly, this metaphor, and the modern reality it represents flies in the face of biblical revelation.

When Christians remind others of Jesus' words in John 14:6: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." we are labeled as politically incorrect, intolerant, (or worse). The non-Christian asks:

How could God possibly accept into heaven only those who come through faith in Jesus? That biblical doctrine is viewed as narrow, intolerant, rude, and unacceptable to people who are used to setting their own terms for life--and the afterlife.

But that is the testimony of Scripture. Jesus also said, "I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved..." (John 10:9).

Notice that Jesus didn't say I am "a" door. He didn't say I am "one" door (of many). He said "I AM THE DOOR," meaning that He is the ONLY DOOR TO HEAVEN!

Dr. Jeremiah writes:

And John 1:14 says that God became flesh and dwelt among the human race in the person of Jesus Christ. Romans 5 explains clearly that it is through Jesus Christ that we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand" (verse 2). And that just as sin entered the world through one man, Adam, so "through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous" (verses 18-19). The same focus on Christ as the one way to God is found in John 11:25, Ephesans 2:18, Hebrews 10:20, and 1 John 5:20.

We can obviously conclude that the Bible teaches one way to heaven. It is our choice to believe what the Bible says, or not. What Jesus makes plain is that we need to submit our desires and plans for our own "trip" to the one biblical road (Jesus - himself) that will take us to heaven.

Just as showing up at an airport without a confirmed flight gets us nowhere, so it is also true that we will not arrive at our desired destination without saying "Yes" to God first:

Without saying "Yes" to God, through faith in Jesus Christ, our reservation remains unconfirmed.

Dr. Jeremiah urges us to make sure your own reservation is confirmed today. That requires going through Jesus Christ - as our intermediary to get to heaven.

Hat Tip:

Dr. David

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