Reflection on Heaven

“What must I do to be saved” asked the jail keeper, and Paul replied,“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”  (Acts 16:30-31)

              I had open heart surgery in 1979, accompanied by a stroke.  In 1998 I lost a kidney to cancer.  This year on June 13 I turned 81.  Probably in the near future this old body of mine is going to stop functioning, parts of it already have!  I will soon have to face the judgement and give an account of the way I lived (Rom. 14:10-12).  But this does not have to be a dreadful thing; in fact, it is an amazing event to anticipate and strive toward!

              I “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,” but is that all that is required of me?  I guess the answer depends on how I define “believe,” for if my believing on Christ does not affect my behavior, if it is only in my head but not my heart, I have a major problem.

              Let’s look at some Scriptural requirements to be saved from sin and on our way to heaven.  In Matthew 4:17 Jesus says we must “repent,” we must turn away from sin and toward God’s will.  In Matthew 4:19 His invitation is “Follow Me.”  His early disciples “left their fishing nets and followed Him.”  These verses demand a wholehearted action in response to a belief in Jesus identity and purpose.  Have I “left my nets” and do I “follow Jesus” each day throughout the day?  I thank Him for personally providing a direction and an example to follow!

             Matthew 5 is the start of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.  How well do we live up to this particular message?  Let’s look at a few verses.  “Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away” (5:42).  If that seems challenging, look at the last verse (5:48), “Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.”  Wow!

             I just finished a study of Revelation and found a specific requirement for getting into heaven that was repeatedly mentioned in chapters 2 and 3: We need to be “overcomers” through Christ.  I particularly love Rev.3:5, “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”

           In my own strength I surely cannot overcome Satan and his temptations.  He is deceitful and will lead me into sin.  Consequently, it may seem that each disciple of Christ is charged with the impossible task of “being perfect.”  However, obedience to His call to repent and follow Him will result in the Spirit’s empowerment of the disciple toward perfection in love (1 John 4:15-18).  Remember, the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, overcame Satan (Rev. 17:14) and “He Who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).  Jesus is in us and enables us to be overcomers!  In this we are indeed blessed that we shall one day inhabit the place He has prepared for us (John 14:2).  Praise Him!

Looking to Jesus as my Savior and Lord of my life.  Thank you, Jesus!!

Richard Bridge

Pastor Bridge has been married to Jo Ann, his childhood sweetheart, for over 61 years.  They pastored churches for 46 years. They no longer go on bicycle tours and race kayaks, but they do enjoy rides on their motorcycle trike.  Praise God!

Excerpt from Signet Ring Magazine Discipleship Issue.


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