Devotional–Heaven is Not for Everyone from The Struggle of Sanctification by Sonya Johnson
Two concepts are truth: People know when they intentionally hurt someone who loves them and Christians know whether or not they are living a faithful and obedient life.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the [a]gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
Satan has deceived us into believing that God understands our sinful desires and that His grace will prevent us from the consequences of sin. Yet, Obedience to God is not an option!
How often do we think of Jesus who is Divine, commanding legions of angels, every breathing organism, and the natural elements, yet, when He came to earth, God required Him to learn obedience and become subservient to the human beings He created? Jesus obeyed His earthly parents along with the governmental laws. Even to His death, Jesus obeyed the will of God, His Father. If God required His Divine Son to learn obedience, then God does not and will not understand the disobedience of us living outside of His will and plans for us.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.” (Jeremiah 17:9-10)
The prophet Jeremiah tells us of the natural condition of our hearts–deceitful and desperately wicked. We cannot self-evaluate or judge our sinful hearts. Only the Holy, Righteous and Perfect God can search our hearts and reveal our secret sins. God has set righteous standards that all who desire eternal life in heaven must obey without compromise. “…Be Holy, for I am Holy” (1 Peter 1:16).
God will judge each person according to His standards. He is the Righteous Judge who determines who will receive the reward of eternal life. Still, we play a significant part in our destiny. The Human Effort required for receiving eternal life in heaven is to love God with all of your heart, soul, and mind demonstrated by living faithful and obedient lives on earth, and to love others. “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last” (Revelation 22:12-13).
Because we were born into sin and shaped with iniquity, God lovingly gave his only Son, Jesus for our Redemption. Jesus Christ gave His life willingly for us to be redeemed from our plight of sinfulness. So the understanding that God has is we will not intentionally rebel by disobeying and sinning against his laws. Yet, many commit intentional sins because of the Plan of Redemption which provides us with grace and mercy.
The Apostle Paul asks, “Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death?” (Romans 6:1-3 NLT)
The profession of love for God includes humility and surrender. Daily confession, repentance, and praying for God to reveal His will is the lifestyle of a Christian. Making decisions without God’s blessings demonstrates rebellion against His Divine authority. It is easy to fall into sin, the slip of the tongue [using profane words], mistreating others, compromising righteous standards when among unbelievers, speeding down the highway, and having vain and lustful thoughts are sins that we easily overlook. But if our true desire is to spend eternal life in the presence of a Holy God, then we cannot live every day according to our desires or feel no remorse for disobedience.
The church of the Laodiceans in Revelation chapter 3 had grown lukewarm and useless. Their hearts were filled with selfish desires of focusing on wealth and culture. Their love for the carnal, materialistic things of the world kept them from living righteously. Yet, because of Christ’s love, they were given a warning of the consequences of being neither hot nor cold.
There is no middle ground. Living a selfish life of disobedience is rebellion against God. The consequence: “For behold, the day is coming, Burning like an oven, And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,” Says the Lord of hosts, “That will leave them neither root nor branch” (Malachi 4:1).
We have a choice to make. When we choose righteousness, God provides Spiritual Reinforcement. Our Omnipotent God knows that we are involved in the conflict of spiritual warfare every day. We have a Father who has made provisions for humanity: the Spiritual Team of God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and guardian angels who never sleep are the Spiritual Warriors who help and fight for us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.
Yet, the human effort of surrender as demonstrated by faithful and obedient hearts, diligent study of the Bible, and much prayer is required for us to receive the Divine Intervention needed to live as Victorious Overcomers. It is only one way for us to obtain our Heavenly reward. By living courageously with a “Do Right” mindset that shuns evil, and a life that boldly proclaims to all, “I love God and I will not compromise!”
Saul, the ruthless killer being transformed into the Apostle Paul is our ultimate example of the power of salvation on the heart that willingly surrenders to Christ.
35-36 So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.
37 For in just a little while,the Coming One will come and not delay.
38 And my righteous ones will live by faith. But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away.
39 But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved. (Hebrews 10:35-39)
Prayer: God, we confess and repent for our disobedience and wayward life. You have given us everything that we need to live righteously. We ask for forgiveness of sinful rebellion. Please cleanse us from all unrighteousness and fill us with your Holy Spirit. We ask you to reveal Your purpose and calling for our lives. Thank You for giving us the Holy Spirit who empowers us to recognize sin, and to become faithful and obedient. Yes, we desire eternal life. We love You and ask this prayer in the Worthy name of Jesus, Amen.