heaven 3

HEAVEN!!! Everyone wants to go there and imagines what it’s like…pearly gates, golden roads, what have you. Revelation 21: 18 says “The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass.” Sounds beautiful but does everyone make it in?

My pastor recently gave the most poignant sermon about heaven I have ever heard! He briefly mentioned a video, maybe you saw it too? I had already seen the video when he mentioned it. Before I go on, let me say my desire is not to bash Pope Francis. Let’s talk about Heaven and how we get there. This video was about Pope Francis welcoming a little boy up close to him. The little boy was distraught because his father, an atheist, had just died and the little boy wondered if his father would go to heaven. Pope Francis mentions how the man had all four of his children baptized; must be a good man and passed along his goodness to his children. The Pope goes on to say how God doesn’t abandon his children. Ok, but what about us abandoning God? Further in the video clip it sounds as though this man was actually able to go to heaven because he was a good man and he tells the little boy to pray for his father who already died. A purgatory reference? Maybe. The clip gets cut off so we don’t see the rest of what was said.

This man was an atheist, he didn’t believe in God. Just like other atheists, he may have denounced God and His existence. So, why would this man be in heaven? Scripture says we get to heaven:
“I (Jesus) am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).
So, how could an atheist, someone who didn’t believe in God, make it to heaven? Scripture is clear that there is only one way into heaven…faith, belief in, relationship with Jesus Christ! There is no Scriptural evidence of purgatory, if that is what was meant when Pope Francis told the boy to pray for his deceased father.

Remember the thief on the cross? The one who hung next to Jesus rebuking the other criminal and asked Jesus to remember him when Jesus entered Heaven? What did Jesus say? “Jesus answered him ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise’” (Luke 23:43). This happened in this man’s final dying moments. Isn’t it possible that in this man’s final dying moments he did the same thing, accepted Jesus, and made it into heaven? It’s not enough to be good. There’s only one way to heaven, through Jesus.

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