“These in white robes–who are they and where did they come from?… These are they who have come out of great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:13-14).
“How did you get here?”
The fellow across the table from me was making polite conversation, I suppose. We were taking a break in a deacon-training event I was leading at a church in an Alabama town, nearly 300 miles from home.
“I drove,” I said, and thought, “How did he think I got here? There is no airport within two hours. The train comes nowhere near here. Did he think I took the Greyhound? Or hitchhiked?”
Later, I decided he was asking the route by which I had traveled, there being four or five highways I could have taken.
“How did you get here?”
It occurs to me that when you and I get to Heaven, and begin meeting people right and left, finding out about their backgrounds and listening to their stories, no one will ask us this question. To ask how we got there would imply there are different ways to that place the Bible calls “The Father’s House.”
Let your mind dwell on that for a minute….
“I came by this religion.” “I got here by being really good.” “I imitated Jesus…or Mother Teresa…or my grandmother.” “I fasted and prayed and flagellated myself.” “I lived in the desert on a diet of ants and bugs to bring my body under subjection.” “I was sincere.” “My good works outweighed the bad.”
None of that foolishness.
In Heaven, no one will ask how you got there for one simple reason: everyone there will have come by the same way–Jesus Christ.
Scripture is consistent on this, make no mistake. It may have been true that “all roads lead to Rome” in the First Century, but all religions do not lead to God and to Heaven. In fact, “there is a way that seems right to man, but the ends of it are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25).
Here are a few of the texts that speak to Jesus as the only way….
Unless we believe in Him, we shall die in our sins (John 8:24).
He is the “door of salvation” in John 10:7,9.
He calls Himself “the way, the truth, the life” in John 14:6.
In I Corinthians 3:11, He is the only foundation that can be laid.
He is “the visible image of the invisible God” in Colossians 1:15.
All the Godhead dwells in Jesus, Colossians 2:9.
The early disciples said, “Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
We believe otherwise to our own peril.
I’m amazed that good and reasonable people will call themselves Christians and yet hold to the unscriptural position that sincerity, no matter how misguided, will get a person to Heaven.
Another one every pastor encounters from people in his congregation goes like this: “God is a merciful God, and so all the people who have never heard of Jesus will surely go to Heaven.” To our carnal minds, that sounds just right. Until we think about it.
If ignorance will get a person to Heaven, then it is the best plan of salvation there is. All we need to do is call in all the missionaries and close all the churches and keep humanity in the dark and everyone goes to Heaven! There’s only one problem with that….
God does not agree. And His is the only position that counts.
God surely went to a lot of trouble to redeem us and get us to Heaven. The two big bookend-stories of the Christian faith–Christmas and Easter–speak to the lengths to which He went to work out our salvation, pay for our sins, and bring us into His forever family.
The greatest insult we can offer God is to say that, while the way of Jesus is good, there are other ways that work just as well and end up in the Father’s House. Clearly, Jesus did not believe this. In Gethsemane, He prayed, “Father, if there is any other way, let’s do it.” There was no other way then and there is no other way now.
Jesus or darkness, friend. Those are our choices. With Jesus, we get it all. Without Him, we get nothing we would ever want for long and nothing that satisfies and an eternity of misery. Nothing could be clearer.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)