In our prior lessons, we discussed the first two giant steps to heaven: stepping out of self and into Christ. To step out of self, we must deny ourselves, put off the old man of sin, and then give ourselves to the Lord without reservation! To step into Christ, we must put on Christ (via faith, repentance, and baptism), we must become a new creation, and, in so doing, we will receive great spiritual blessings!
THE THIRD GIANT STEP IS THE STEP THAT TAKES US UP TO HEAVEN.
What does this final step entail?
- Stepping up to heaven requires that we die and be judged.
Hebrews 9:27 - "And it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment." Death is part of the human experience, but it is not something that a Christian should fear. Romans 14:10 instructs - "But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ."
- Stepping up to heaven requires a transformation.
Paul taught in I Corinthians 15:50-53:
"Now this I say brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed--in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."
When Jesus comes again, everyone will be changed. Not everyone will experience physical death, but all will be transformed and will be given incorruptible bodies--bodies not subject to death and decay, bodies that are ready for eternal service of God Almighty in heaven! I John 3:2 further reveals - "Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." John says that we don't know exactly what our spiritual bodies will be like, but they will be glorious like Jesus'!
- Stepping up to heaven is like going home at last.
Jesus spoke in John 14:1-3 - "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." Heaven is a wonderful place; a place beyond our wildest imagination! A place of pure bliss; a place far removed from the trials and tribulations of this life. Heaven is our real home! As Paul declared in II Corinthians 5:1,2 - "For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven." We should all have a strong desire to go home to be with God forever; this world is not our home! I Thessalonians 4:16,17 states - "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord."
Yes friends, there are three giant steps necessary in order to go to heaven: out of self, into Christ, and then up to heaven! Praise God that He has made salvation possible through His grace and our obedient faith (cf. Eph. 2:8)!
Have you overcome selfishness? Have you been baptized into Christ? Have you accepted that new relationship with God as His servant so that you can one day enter into heaven with Him? Unless the Lord returns first, you will die! Are you ready to meet Him in judgment? If we can be of service to you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us.