Working Toward Heaven

May 4, 2014

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I was out for a jog the other day and ran (pun intended) across a group of Jehovah’s Witnesses preparing for a Saturday of door to door evangelism.

In the past, I’ve engaged in conversations with them about salvation by grace and not works, Jesus being God, or even their view that only 144,000 will make it to heaven (from Revelation).

Today I was struck with a sense of sadness.

How sad for someone to believe they must evangelize in hopes of working towards heaven.

How many souls are enough?
How many Saturday’s are enough?
In a church of close to 8 million, will you really do enough to be in the top 144,000 of all time? (or be so lucky to be on earth when God’s kingdom is established here in the future.)

While it is sad to see a Jehovah’s Witness working toward heaven through door to door sharing, how many of us subtly engage in similar activities.

While we would not claim heaven comes initially be good works, many of us engage in these disciplines and moral behavior in hopes of maintaining or even enhancing our position in heaven someday.

We pray, we give, and we serve for a variety of reasons:

– Because the Bible says so
– It’s what good Christians do
– Faith without works is dead

While there is truth in all these statements, they ultimately fall short if we are doing things to climb the ranks in favor with God.

My pastor recounted an example today which illustrates this.

He said, “Many times people say they feel like they are not a good Christian. The appropriate answer to this is, “That’s right…in fact you are far worse than you think.” 

If we measure our success by what we do for God, the gospel shows us how broken we are in light of God’s standard of perfection?

While we would never outwardly claim to be working out way towards heaven, but in our hearts and our motivations we often live this way.

It is sad to see a Jehovah’s Witness pounding the pavement in the futile pursuit of making God’s Standard.

It is equally sad to see many believers responding to God’s gift of grace with a life of slavery to good deeds and moral behavior as a means for maintaining their status or even elevating their position in the eyes of God.

We don’t engage in good works or moral behavior to obtain.

We respond to know the God who has obtained if for us, walking with Him in relationship.

In this we have a glimpse of God’s eternal kingdom; one where there is no striving, no performing, and especially no sadness.

All other religions work towards heaven with no hope of success. Christianity is the only one where heaven came to Earth as a man and did what we are unable to do for us.

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Chris

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A missionary teacher for 24 years currently living in South Africa. I am a recovering superhero, daily in need of the grace of God