How To Enter Heaven–The bible says that the heaven is so great that you cannot imagine or expect what is waiting for you there. In other words, it is a place beyond our imagination and recognition. Paul says:
1 Corinthians 2:9 9 However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him—10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
If heaven is such a wonderful place, everybody would like to go there. Once there was a movie called “Avatar.” And the graphic and imagination of the movie were so amazing that many came to think that Pandora, the planet in the movie can be considered as paradise in human imagination. I remember also that I was very impressed by the movie and the graphic. However, the bible says that the heaven is a place where we cannot describe with our human imagination. Then how beautiful and fantastic would it be!
Who can go to heaven?
How To Enter Heaven–Then can everyone enter heaven in the end? Certainly not. The bible clearly put a limit about the people who can enter heaven. Jesus said that “Not everyone can enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 7:21) The fate waiting for those who cannot enter the heaven is dire and miserable. Therefore, we must make effort to enter heaven all the more not just for the beauty and happiness in store for the chosen, but for the pain and suffering reserved for the banished.
Therefore, most people who believe in God in the bible already know the importance of receiving the passport to the heavenly country. Then how can we get the visa and passport to go heaven? When asked, people tend to say that they can enter heaven if they do something good in this world. Is it true? First, let us some examples from the bible.
A Story of A Young Rich Man
How To Enter Heaven–Once a rich young man came to Jesus and asked how to enter eternal life in heaven. Jesus said that he must do everything according to the Ten Commandments: Do not tell a lie, do not murder, do not commit adultery, etc. In short, he said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” And the young man said that he had done everything according to the law. Jesus loved and wanted to lead to salvation. Jesus said, “One thing you lack. Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor…. Then come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21) After hearing the words, he left Jesus and never came back.
Matthew 19:23 23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
After hearing this, the disciples got surprised and asked one another, “If that young man who did everything according to the law cannot enter heaven, who can enter?” The young man was a perfect example of “Good Man.” And according to the opinions of people today, if he cannot enter, then who can? We can imagine what kind of person he must have been. He must have been upright, kind, considerate, etc. In short, he must have been “A Few Good Men” in this world. However, Jesus said that he cannot enter the heaven.
An Example From Apostle Paul
How To Enter Heaven–In the matter of righteousness, Paul was also the one like the young rich man.
Philippians 3:4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
Even though he became a different person after receiving the Christ, once he took much pride in himself. He had good family background, education, and more than anything else he had the citizenship of Rome, which could guarantee a successful life in those days. His obedience to the Law of Moses was perfect like the rich young man. This means he had not done anything which could have brought himself into disrepute.
Even though he had led a perfect life in the moral and legal aspect, he said that he considered his previous life as Jew as “rubbish.” Before he knew Christ, everything he had done was meaningless and useless for his salvation.
A Story Of Ant World
How To Enter Heaven–Whether he had done good things to his neighbor by loving and helping them is not essential for salvation. In this sense, we can conclude that the good things we do for others are not the ticket for heaven.
To explain this, I would like to take an ant society for example. Once I read in a newspaper about an ant species which shows altruistic character by helping the injured in a fight.
But their attacks are met with resistance and the ants get involved in fights with termites of the soldier caste. Ants often get injured as the soldier termites are ‘very adept’ at using their powerful jaws to fend off the attackers. But the ingenious ants have developed a ‘rescue behaviour’ previously unknown in insects. The ants emit two pheromones – dimethyl disulfide and dimethyl trisulfide – present in the mandibular gland reservoirs of the ants, trigger the rescue behaviour. The injured insect is then carried back to the nest by its comrades, where it can recover and receive treatment.
This is an amazing story. Even an insect knows how to help another when the other got injured. Then let us imagine a huge battle between this ant species and termites. And many of the ants got injured because of the termite attack. In this battle, there was a particularly “good” ant which rescued many injured brothers and saved their life. After the war, the particular ant was awarded “Good Citizenship Award” for the feats during the war. He became a great ant in the ant world.
Human Society Through A Spiritual Perspective
How To Enter Heaven–This would be a fantastic story. But how can this achievement of the good ant affect us? Does it cause any harm or good to us? No, nothing. Even though there might be a great war between ants and termite going on by the sidewalk, while walking, we may not notice what is going on. The great epic tragedy in the ant world does not cause any impact on us. Maybe, some scientists consider the behavior unusual and study the ants. To most of us, however, ants and termites are both annoying things that must be exterminated by a pest control. To us it does not matter if an ant is good and a hero of the ant world. Good or bad, they are just ants and ants are NOT good.
With this perspective, let us reexamine the human society. Let us get rid of the prejudice we have on us as human being. We might consider our life and our world important. And we might praise a man who works hard for the benefit of the human society by giving them awards for various reasons. We might write books about their achievements and make films out of their stories. We teach the students about them as good role models to follow. In our human perspective, doing such things for good men is natural and understandable.
But what about in God’s perspective? Are we truly worthy to be praised? Are we truly “good”? The bible says that no one is good in this world and everybody is a sinner. In other words, in God’s perspective, we are just criminals kept in prison earth until the time of execution. That is the life of mankind in the spiritual perspective.
How to Enter Heaven?
For example, let us think about a serial killer in a prison who received the penalty of capital punishment for the crimes. In prison, he changed his behavior and became a good man. He helps other prisoners when they are sick. And he eagerly does the chores in the prison. He is known as “good” man in the prison. Then because of that, do we praise the criminal and forgive his wrongdoings just because he has done something good in prison? Do we make petition to the government to set him free? Probably not.
If a prisoner does something good in prison, he might be received honorably by other inmates. But that does not mean the things that he had done while living in the society can be forgiven. It is the same with us. We are the sinners from heaven. We committed sins against God in heaven and came down to this prison earth. In this earth, we might have changed ourselves and we do many honorable things for other people. Then we might receive fame and honor from others on this earth. However, this does not mean there is any improvement in our spiritual status. Still, we are sinners destined to die. In spite of many good things on this earth, we still are the same spiritually.
That is why we can conclude that we cannot save ourselves through the good deeds on this earth. A “good” man cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. This might sound like ironical, but it is true. Then how can we enter the heaven?
Follow The Commands Of God
God clearly teaches us that we cannot enter the heaven through our own righteousness.
Job 35:6 Look up at the heavens and see; gaze at the clouds so high above you. 6 If you sin, how does that affect him? If your sins are many, what does that do to him? 7 If you are righteous, what do you give to him, or what does he receive from your hand? 8 Your wickedness only affects humans like yourself, and your righteousness only other people.
I am not saying that we can do bad things to others. We have to be good not to cover the glory of God. And also God commanded us to be good. What I am trying to say is that our salvation does not depend on “goodness” to others as many believe. Then what should we do to enter heaven? Jesus said that we have to do “the will of God” to enter heaven. (Matthew 7:21) God said, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood can have eternal life.” And those who received the eternal life through Christ’s flesh and blood can enter heaven where there is no death, pain, sorrow.
God gave us the Passover new covenant to enter heaven. Let us do the will of God by keeping the Passover. We should remember that no one can enter heaven through their own righteousness. To enter heaven we must follow the commands of God. It is not our perspective, but God’s perspective that is important for us to receive salvation. Let us make effort to be a “good” man in the eyes of God, not in our own perspective.