“If Heaven Has a Gate, a Wall and Extreme Vetting, Why Can’t America?”
This was the title of the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington last February 25. While the analogy does raise an eyebrow, it fails to connect the dots. Why? Because America is a democracy and heaven is a theocracy. Also, people create laws in one but not the other. Really?
There is plenty of evidence that much of the Christian Church has converted itself into a Democracy (we control) in avoidance of Theocracy. (God control)
Church committees, loaded down with those who have no intention of being a disciple of Jesus, run rough-shod over God’s Word and those who wish to follow it. In the denial of scripture, they carry on in club-like fashion with dues and memberships for the few, the fewer, the proud and the class-privileged. These churches have been taken over by a mafia of sorts. Is God to vet these churches and call them to accountability? Does the fact that the American main-line church denominations are dying before our eyes indicate that they have rejected His rule and order?
Neither a theocracy, nor a democracy have dictators. Yet the American church has tolerated, if not coddled, such people. They find their way into the pulpit and bring ruination. Committee-driven churches, non-Christian and carnal believers alike are quick to spread their poisons as they rule with heavy hand and fist. They are absent of any directive from, or connection to the bible or the Spirit of God.
In many cases, they are used as pawns to play politics. Other “members” who are afraid to confront in a healthy manner bring on these bullies and use them for the hate-mongers that they are. Instead of vetting and denying these people, they reward them and suffer the consequences. The rest of the congregation usually sits in tolerant, pitiful, abject silence and fear. Dictators count on that. This is perhaps the greatest wall of separation, the gate most tightly shut between the church and the Father—the bride and the Groom.
Many Christians feel that God is judging the church of America and rewarding her flagrant disobedience.
On to the other matter of Heaven, and who gets in or not. The varied vetting procedures of religious denominations are interesting to say the least. In each case, man, not Christ, is in control of destiny. He hopes to perform more good deeds than bad, thus appeasing the gods and earning entrance rights. Who decides “too bad” or “finally enough good”? Good questions. Let’s ask Santa.
The Catholic Church promotes:
“Those who die in God’s grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live forever with Christ.”
However, some of the beloved stinkers may need some Purgatory as a final cleaning out around the edges before entering. And then, some are just so naughty that they can never be made nice and must go to Hell. Santa is “making a list and checking it twice.”
The Jewish people have no record of heaven in the Torah, but traditions have surfaced over the generations. In the “Olam Ha Ba” (world to come) bad people go to Gehenna (hell) and righteous people go to Gan Eden. (heaven) Santa’s “naughty or nice” again.
The Muslims heaven is perhaps the most enticing of all. If it was sinful and not allowed on earth, count on it being legal and celebrated in heaven. Women will get the perfected man of their dreams, and men, who have earned such rights, will be rewarded with servants, food, clothing, virgins and unlimited sexual pleasures. But wait, there’s more. You must be a Muslim believer in Allah. Sorry–Infidels not allowed. But wait, there’s more. Even if you have professed belief in Allah and his prophet Muhammed—even if you have practiced the five pillars religiously, there is a balance and scale. Have you been too naughty or not nice enough? Then behave yourself per the Qur’an and Hadith, (Abrogation allowed of course) and hope for the best on that day. (Re: Sura 23:102-103)
Buddhists have a Karma account in which withdrawals are made while one exists in any number of their heavens and hells. (not the Christian heaven or hell) While on earth, did you practice generosity and compassion? Did you strive to gain wisdom? Here’s the “Were you naughty or nice?” again. And if you find yourself in hell, just endure long enough to burn through the karma (or lack thereof) that put you there. Then move on, and on, and on to your next existence.
What about Jesus and His Church?
Jesus refers to himself as bread, shepherd, light, living water, the Bride, The way, The Truth and The life, and yes a gate. He is also a stumbling block to anyone trying to enter his kingdom through yet another way. As “the good shepherd” he leads those who “know his voice.” He is the “cornerstone” of the wall of separation between those who receive or reject Him.
As such, “vetting” has nothing to do with works that hope to earn a status and especially an entrance into eternal security. Rather, vetting for one who would be a Christian, is the presence of a relationship in trust, faith, belief, new birth, and resulting obedience. (John 3) Christ himself is the offensively small and narrow gate—the stone (wall) the builders rejected. He is also the Fathers great pleasure and provision, only provision, for the forgiveness of sin.
Jesus delivered words that were hard to hear. (and still are) He follows with an invitation, to enter this gate of vetting and avoid the horrors of being turned away because of turning him away and going it alone.
It is God who vets all of us. His gate for inclusion into heaven is His Son. And His Son named all of us who might chose to enter yet another gate as thieves. This is the will of the Father, to wall out those who reject His Son and to securely vet those who come to know Him through repentance and new-birth. (John 3)
Jesus, being the narrow gate, said,
“Go in through the narrow gate. The gate to destruction is wide, and the road that leads there is easy to follow. A lot of people go through that gate. But the gate to life is very narrow. The road that leads there is so hard to follow that only a few people find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
“God has also said, that he gave us eternal life and that this life comes to us from his Son. And so, if we have God’s Son, we have this life, But if we don’t have the Son, we don’t have this life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.” (I John 5:11-13)
God continues to vet for the presence of his Son, not good or bad behaviors as if they might earn anything more than self-pride and self-sufficiency. A reminder that fish are to be cleaned after they are caught. So much for insecurity and the naughty or nice routine!
What we all will discover is that not one of us would enter heaven if we were required to be qualified without Christ. (Perhaps that is why cult leaders use their books and standards in preference)
Yet because of grace and mercy, love demonstrated through Jesus Christ, every person who repents, turns from their unbelief, confesses Christ and is born again, may have the assurance of eternity with God.
Our good works and behaviors are becoming the symptoms of knowing Christ and having Him within. Christ is thus our entrance-ability into heaven, not how good or bad we have been in this life.
The bible is clear. When you and I kneel before God, He will not ask if we were members of a particular denomination. He will not ask us how good or bad we were. He already has a record of that.
Christ was truly God. But he did not try to remain equal with God. Instead he gave up everything and became a slave, when he became like one of us. Christ was humble. He obeyed God and even died on a cross.
Then God gave Christ the highest place and honored his name above all others. So at the name of Jesus everyone will bow down, those in heaven, on earth, and under the earth.
And to the glory of God the Father everyone will openly agree, “Jesus Christ is Lord!”