Tuesday Re-mix –
“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” Luke 13:24
I dreamt death came the other day and Heaven’s gate swung wide;
An Angel with a halo bright ushered me inside.
There to my astonishment stood folks I had judged and labeled
as “quite unfit” or “of little worth” or “spiritually disabled”.
Indignant words rose to my lips but never were set free,
For every face showed stunned surprise…not one expected me!
I think we are all in for some huge surprises if/when we get to Heaven. I think we are going to find out that we didn’t know quite as much as we thought we knew about God and His ways, about Heaven and Hell, and about the doctrine of salvation. I think we will be surprised to see some people there we never thought would be there. I think we will be surprised to NOT see some people there whom we just assumed would be there. And I think there may be some folks there who will be surprised to see you or me there!
But not everybody is expecting to be surprised. There are a lot of Christians out there today who are pretty certain they already know everything about God and Heaven and salvation and who is in and who is out. I suppose my first point in this post is that I always want to be a part of a church who does NOT think they have it all figured out. I want to worship alongside friends who are actually expecting (even hoping for) some surprises in Heaven.
And while we are talking about surprises, I also happen to believe that many of us who have spent a good amount of time and energy arguing about theological differences and using those arguments to ostracize or “other-ize” other Christians are also in for some unpleasant surprises in Heaven when we see how much of God’s time we wasted making non-essential doctrine essential to our faith.
But as I read Jesus’ words in Luke 13, I am convicted by more than just our ignorance (and arrogance). I am convicted by how utterly inflexible God appears to be on this matter of eternity. While you and I may squabble and quibble about the rules governing salvation, none of our contentions will affect the truth in even the slightest way. You and I do not get a “vote” when it comes to who gets into heaven and who does not. Frankly, our opinions are useless for any practical purposes. This is because the rules are set. In stone, apparently.
Just as Jesus surprised us all by allowing the rich young ruler to walk away without salvation and the thief on the cross to die with his salvation intact, God has watched (and will continue to watch) people who thought they were good enough for heaven stand on the outside and people who knew they were NOT good enough welcomed in. You see, the rules are already set. When it comes to eternity, it really isn’t about what you know…according to Jesus, it is about Who you know.
Does it surprise you that God would be so very inflexible about this “narrow way”? Well, join the club. Another surprise…wow, who saw that coming?