We continually face important decisions. By far, the most vital decision is choosing the course that leads to heaven not only in the future, but also here and now. It determines eternity, starting with a meaningful life on this earth.
There is only one way to heaven. I’m not speaking only about the future heaven to come; I’m talking about the reality of heaven in our everyday lives. It’s not a choice of here or there, but now and then. It is present tense and future tense.
Believers who have experienced the spiritual new birth and the reality of its transforming power have been left here on this earth to be faithful, bold, Spirit-filled witnesses. We are not only to live the life we find in Christ, but we are to also share it freely and consistently. The Great Commission is not simply to get people out of hell and into heaven. The reality is, we are also to help get hell out of people and heaven’s reality revealed in their lives.
I’m convinced many people who profess to have a relationship with God have actually missed it as far as the east is from the west and have often substituted it with some form of religious practice or dead traditions of men. If all on this earth who claim to know Christ would really live full of heaven’s reality, far more people would be anxious to experience that life in the here and now, and not just think about then and there.
There is only one way to heaven and abundant life here on earth. The greatest person who ever walked on this planet—the man in whose life even the harshest critics could find no legitimate fault—made the pathway of life very clear. Jesus boldly proclaimed, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.” Jesus said, “I am the way; there is no other.” To praise Him for His exemplary life and not accept Him as the way to life and the way to heaven is the most foolish denial of truth and reality a person can construct.
When people compliment Christ’s character but deny Him as the Lord and Savior He claimed to be, they have no understanding of who He is. As C.S. Lewis concluded, “Jesus is either liar, lunatic or Lord.” Lewis is 100 percent right. Jesus’ assertion that He is the way indicates He is the door leading to life, now and forever. He is the only way to the Father and to heaven.
Further, He is the only way to experience the reality of life in all of its fullness right now. “There is no other name given among men whereby we must be saved.” “God has given Him a name above every name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”
Jesus is the only exit from death and entrance into life. Critics and skeptics will say it is pompous arrogance, intolerance of other views, or even unkind to tell people there is only one way. Remember, this pronouncement came from the One who said He is the way and the only way.
Consider this example. If a crowd was trapped in a burning building and someone shouted, “Here is the only safe exit—the only way out!” and the facts proved that the statement was true, it would be preposterous to accuse that person of being guilty of hatred or intolerance. The fact is, they should be exalted as the champion of life and a faithful witness. Those who escaped the blazing fire should spend the rest of their lives expressing praise and thanksgiving for that discovery.
The enemy of life and truth consistently and unceasingly attacks the way, truth, and life that can only be found in Christ. The sincere seekers in that burning building who did not decide to move toward and through the only safe exit but rather mistakenly looked for another would not escape the consequences of refusing the only safe way. They would perish. Why would anyone want to resist our Creator’s warning? With love and compassion, He is seeking to save us from death and give us everlasting life.
Jesus also said, “I am the truth.” He defines truth and demonstrates it perfectly. He shows what it looks like in life and its effect when applied to all areas of our lives. It works when we face challenges, valleys, heartaches, disappointments, great success and horrific tragedies. When we lose our life in His eternal purpose, we actually begin to discover it in all of its magnificent beauty. When we abide in Him, we know the truth that sets us free. We’re not freed from the battle, but rather to the battle with the ability to win because “He has sent His Spirit, another of the same kind” to live in us.
Please remember, God is not willing that “any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” We have been left here to allow the kingdom of the heavens to be revealed in us. This is promised life now. We are to overflow with His Spirit of love, peace and joy, abounding in fruitfulness in the land that flows with milk and honey. This is heavenly peace and security in the shelter and shadow of the Almighty. We can consistently live following the Lord, who is our Shepherd. We can live on this earth with heaven filling us and someday live in heaven, free from all adverse effects of sin. Free from pain, disease, and death forever and ever.
Living for Jesus has been so fulfilling I would want to be a Christian if there were no heaven or hell. It is sad to observe people trying desperately to find life and meaning in all the wrong places and the wrong ways. The emptiness in life can only be filled with the presence of the One who offers it freely.
Whatever decisions you make in life, do not miss heaven, both here and now, then and there. Please accept His invitation to trust Him—Jesus—as Lord, and experience grace found in the sacrificial death of the lamb of God. He not only died for you, He has been raised to live in you. It is not mere religion but a personal relationship with Jesus and with God as your Father. Jesus said we must all come to Him with childlike faith. Ask Jesus to forgive you, cleanse you and change your life so you can live to give honor, glory and praise to the name above every name.
If you’ve invited Jesus into your heart, please feel free to call our prayer center at (800) 947-5433 and request as a gift the book I wrote to help new believers get started. It is titled Knowing God as Father and contains simple Bible studies that you will find enlightening and encouraging.
may god give us grace to get to heaven
I love your column. It is inspiring and full of wisdom. May God continue to bless you and give you insights.
James another excellent, thoughtful and inspiring message on not missing Heaven. I pray that all who read this message Christians or non-believers will not miss Heaven.
L.Agius (Sydney, Australia)
I pray people read and follow your words. Follow the direction “to the exit, from the fire” and get in action. Once free the thing to do is to praise the voice and be free. Others will see and ask how such freedom and joy is found. To build static temples to the voice or continue to frequent burning buildings is not to follow Christ…
God bless your ministry. ‘Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. For it’s God our Father’s hope that all shall be saved.
Your columns are an inspiration to believers and to non-believers.
Keep up the good work (God’s Work).
I read and appreciate your thoughtful columns each week. Well do I know your insights only grow on one tree, “the Tree of Life”. It is said such thoughts don’t grow on trees but in fact they do. You continue to ingest life from the Lord’s presence with clarity as well good application.
Your column this week is outstanding. If we truly awaken to His presence as we emphasized and experienced in the conference, we live with the drum beat of heaven determining both our direction and our cadence. You are so on target with your insights.
Thanks for being a display of His life and His kingdom here and now,