How do I get to Heaven?

“Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.  The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:34b-36, ESV)

I am a

slave to sin

and

The slave does not remain in the house forever

I am in the position to be kicked out and spend my eternity in Hell.

But Jesus is no slave.  Jesus

remains forever

1. I am a slave to sin, ready to be kicked out of God’s house.

2. Jesus is the Son of God, always to stay in God’s house.

So can I figure out the last part of the verse from these first two truths?

Not at all!  It sails far beyond the limitations of my logic and lands in the grasses of God’s mercy:

So if the Son sets you free

Jesus wants to set us free!  The first two facts could not in our wildest imagination draw us to the third: Jesus is willing to set us free.

And what does He say about this freedom?

you will be free indeed.

Not that I will be free when I’ve served my sentence.  Not that I will be free when I’ve served “half” my sentence (if such a thing is possible).  Not that I will be free when I realize the full plague I have exposed myself to by my sin.  Not that I will be free when I learn how to carry the immeasurably heavy burden of my sin.

Only that, if Jesus shares His freedom with me, I–me–

will be free indeed.

Christ Jesus goes on my behalf to His Father and asks for full forgiveness for my sins.

This is because, if Jesus accepts me, He intercedes (makes payment for my sin and purifies me) eternally.

Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood.  Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. (Hebrews 7:24b-25, NIV)

If my eternity as a child of God rather than as a damned slave of sin depends on Christ Jesus’ acceptance of me, then I should spend the rest of my life searching for the way to earn that acceptance, right?

That kind of quest would make sense except for two truths.  First, I am not able to find truth when I am a sinner.  That would be something like a tree trying to figure out how to do algebra.  The Bible describes sinners as dead to the ways of God (see Ephesian 2:4-5).  We can’t be smart enough or good enough to figure out how to earn Jesus’ approval.

Second, I don’t need to go on any quest anyway, because Christ Himself plainly tells the only way we can receive acceptance from Him:

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and loaded down with burdens, and I will give you rest. Place my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble, and you will find rest for your souls, because my yoke is pleasant, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, ISV)

All I have to do is come to Jesus and He will give me employment in His Kingdom as an heir of God, pulling me out of my life as a slave to sin.  And Jesus gives me the only kind of employment that gives rest!  (I don’t think any of us would say that about the jobs we do for earthly employers . . .because if we did, we would feel more refreshed after work rather than less!)

Even though I work for Jesus, it isn’t in my working that I find His acceptance of me.  It’s in my coming.

Jesus promises that if I will come to Him, He will make me fit for the kingdom of God by His blood spilled for me (see Mark 14:24 and Luke 22:20).

And Jesus promises that if I come to Him, He will make me skilled for the kingdom of God by His teaching freely given to me (see Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the entire Word of God, see John 1:1-14).

And as long as there is day left (as long as we are alive on earth), Jesus will accept us and give us employment in His kingdom–even if we feel our life is mostly or almost entirely all spent up and wasted (see Matthew 20:1-16).

“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink! The one who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, will have rivers of living water flowing from his heart.” (John 7:37b-38, ISV)

“I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. (John 6:35b, NASB)

“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”  (John 6:37-40, NASB)

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See Copyright Page for Bible translation information.

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