Daily Devotional

August 4

How Do You Get to Heaven?

by Peter G. Feenstra


This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Galatians 3:2

Bible Reading

Galatians 3:1–9


You may have heard stories about individuals who had a near-death experience. Such people say they felt like they were being taken through a long tunnel and brought closer to a dazzling bright light. Imagine yourself at death’s door. You have passed through the tunnel and you are standing in the presence of the Lord God. Together with the saints who have gone to be with the Lord you gather around the throne in worship of the Lamb.

But how do you enter heaven? Can you be sure that the Lord will let you into heaven in the first place? Shouldn’t there be a sign on the door saying, “Do not enter! No sinners allowed”? Doesn’t the Lord have every right to say, “Sorry, you have no right to be in my presence. You violated my laws and you grieved my heart by your lack of faithfulness and trust. Why are you here? What do you expect me to do for you?”

Many consider themselves eligible for heaven because of their good deeds. All the jokes about meeting Peter at the pearly gates suggest heaven is the destiny of those who have made an honest effort to lead a good life, they didn’t hurt anyone. Most people do not think they deserve to be condemned to hell.

The only way we can enter into the joy of heaven is through Christ. Jesus is the door, opening the way to eternal communion with the Father. God’s justice requires that we make payment for all our spiritual debts. Our goodness, religious fervour or good works cannot get us into heaven; they take us down dead-end streets. We cannot earn our salvation or pay the price we owe the Lord.

In his letter to the Galatian churches, Paul speaks to this matter. We are being foolish if we think we can pay our way into heaven. There is no point in trying to attain heaven and salvation through human effort. The work of Christ is our only hope! His death on the cross assures us that our debt has been cleared out of the way. How can you be sure that you will enter heaven? There is no certainty for the future based on human accomplishments. But the gates of the New Jerusalem will go open to us when we seek all things in Christ.

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