Summary: We must be perfect to enter Heaven
Why did Jesus ascend into Heaven, why didn’t He stay here on earth for ever? Wouldn’t it have been easier for us to be certain about our Christian faith if He had, if we could see Him and ask Him all those difficult questions that keep on cropping up about how to live the Christian Faith. Wouldn’t it have been better if He’d stayed on to run the world, rather than the mess that us fallible human beings make of it?
Let’s begin with a story:
One day a man arrived at the gates of heaven. “Can I come in” He asked when God met Him at the entrance.
God said, “Anyone who wants to enter heaven must write a brand new genuine Shakespeare Play to qualify for entry”.
The man thought to himself, “That’s crazy. But God is God and I suppose He lay down whatever entry rules He likes. I expect He knows what He’s aiming at”….. so he went back home and began to to write his brand new Shakespeare play.
First he studied Shakespeare – studied all his plays, studied his style, formed a plot and began to write the kiund of thing that Shakespeare would have written.
Then six months oin he turned up again at the gates of heaven play in hand. God looked at it, read it through from start to finish, paused and then said, “Good try, but not good enough. You see I asked for a brand new GENUINE Shakespeare Play. Yours LOOKS like a Shakespeare Play, it even sounds like a Shaespeare Play, but it’s an IMITATION, not the genuine article, so I’m afraid you can’t come in.”
“But that’s not fair” the man protested, “I did my best. You can’t expect me to write a GENUINE Shakespeare Play, only Shakespeare could do that, and I’m not Shakespeare. The only way I could do what tyou want is if William Shaespeare came into me and took over, took over my emotions, my feelings, my mind, my body and my hands and write a play through me – THEN it would be brand new, and GENUINE – ONLY THEN could I get into heaven”.
“That’s right” said God, “You’ve got it in one.
“But Shakespeare’s dead, and he couldn’t live in me, even if He was alive – I give up” said the man and went away sadly.
It’s a silly story, isn’t it! Or is it?
God has laid down one condition for us to enter heaven – we must be PERFECT, for only prefect creatures can inhabit Heaven. So, when we die and stand at the gates of Heaven He will ask us to offer a perfect life to Him – OUR perfect life.
But isn’t that ridiculous? Is anyone ONE of us perfect – I’m certainly not, and I bet if I really knew you deep down inside I’d see that you’re not either. And if we entered heaven like that, we’d soon mess it up – one rotten apple will spoil the barrel, as they say. So to enter heaven we’ll have to present to God a life that is PERFECT, GENUINELY PERFECT – nothing less will do.
Now most people will say, “That’s CRAZY, you must have got it wrong, and go on living their relatively good lives, doing their best, believing that God will make allowances for them – which looks quite logical”.
But what if I’m right? What if our BEST is not good enough. Then Heaven must be a pretty empty place , because the only person who ever lived a genuinely perfect life is JESUS!
Ah YES! But what if the Spirit of Jesus was alive and came to live in us. What if the Spirit of Jesus began to take over our emotions, our feelings, our minds, our bodies, and live His life in us all over again through us! Then it would be the genuine thing – then it would be PERFECT!
And that’s what God planned. He does ask for genuinely perfect people to enter Heaven, but He has also made provision for all us who are far from perfect. Remember, when Jesus rose from the dead, He promised to send His Spirit to live in the lives of His Disciples, so that they could begin to live the way that HE lived, to love as HE loved, and to act as HE acted, and He also made provision for all the mess that was present in their lives, by taking it on Himself and killing it stone dead, washing them clean on the Cross. So, when they died, they were able to present not the messiness of their lives, the poverty of their love, the smallness of their actions, BUT THOSE OF JESUS! And THAT’S WHY Heaven is not empty – but full of PERFECT PEOPLE.