A common refrain: If you die tonight, will you be in heaven tomorrow?
My honest answer is I don’t know. I don’t know if I were to die right now that I would be in Heaven in the next moment. I don’t know. I am not so full of myself to say that I am going to heaven. I know I have fallen short of what I ought to be. I hope. I pray. I want. I chose and still choose Jesus. I have a deep faith commitment to Jesus and His way. I trust that Jesus has made a way for all to enter eternal life.
To the question who is in Heaven, Robert Farrar Capon responded, “People think it is good guys. There is nobody in heaven, but forgiven sinners because there was nobody available to go to heaven except forgiven sinners. There is nobody in hell, except forgiven sinners. The difference is that in heaven, they accept the forgiveness. In hell, they reject it. That’s it. You get into heaven by being bad and accepting forgiveness. Now, that does in a way mean you have permission to be bad. If you want to stick your hand in a meat grinder, you are free to do that. It’s stupid, but God isn’t going to run the universe that way. God is not going to punish. He cares more about relationships than behavior.”
No matter who you are, what you have done and have not done God loves you personally. No one, absolutely no one is outside of the love of God. We are all included in the loving embrace of God. We become sons and daughters of God by loving everyone, just as God does. God’s love frees us up to be who we really are and this fierce, perfect, divine love transforms us into our best self.
If God loves us as we are than we should be able to accept ourselves and others as is and not be overly concerned about what other people think. We should live in loving, sane, and healthy ways. We should be Jesus to the world. We cannot live for sake of another. We need to live our life the best way we can growing in love, faith, hope, and joy.
Capon goes on, “God forgave you before you repented. That’s crucial. See, that is why it is so outrageous. The gospel is really vulgar, crass and immoral because it says God forgives the world before it repents. In the gospel, repent is always repent and believe. It means turn yourself around from not trusting the forgiveness and trust it. That’s it. It doesn’t mean that you earn it by repenting. You had it before.”
Only through Jesus can we escape the penalty of our sin. Let’s be honest all have sinned and fallen short. No one lives up to their own ideal, so how can we live up to the ideal God has set for our life. If you want to be saved to inherit eternal life, if you want to follow Jesus, then you must realize you have sinned. That is not the end of the story. Not even close. Jesus enters the picture saving all form condemnation. Look to Jesus who died on the cross and trust what he did is for you. This is accomplished by faith in grace alone. The Bible says we are all sinners. Guilty of having sinned, we are separated from God dead in our sins we will suffer damnation. The only way to escape this judgment is by receiving Christ, by trusting in what Jesus did on the cross and continues to do in his people today. You don’t have to pretty yourself up. All you need do is accept the love and grace God offers freely in Christ Jesus.
God’s love and grace is ours freely. We merely need to respond in faith to what is already ours in Christ Jesus. Faith enables us to enjoy the gift of redemption that Jesus secured on the cross. God is taking creation somewhere making it alive in a new way as He did in Jesus. All He is asking from you is to participate in the party that is the Kingdom of God.