When I was a young boy my mother taught me to say my prayers every night, and I was told that if I behaved myself I’d go to heaven. I knew my Bible told me to ‘believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved’ (Acts 16:31). I had a book of Bible stories that I took to Sunday School every week. I believed them to be true, so I felt comfortable that I was ‘saved’ (whatever that meant). But I was always a bit unsure about heaven. Had I been good enough to qualify? I didn’t think so. This bothered me.
It was a long time before I realised that getting to heaven didn’t depend on my behaviour. However, I then discovered that ‘believing on’ and ‘believing in’ were two different things. I had believed in Jesus, that He lived, was crucified for me and rose again from the dead. And somehow that qualified me for being ‘saved.’ But then I heard someone preach that the devil also believed in Jesus. He too knew that Jesus was real. So, I knew I’d got it wrong somewhere.
Believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, I found, was to accept what He did on the cross personally. He did it for me. This helped me to understand the meaning of faith.
Then there was the issue of sin. My sins were forgiven. I’d repented to God for them. But I knew the chances were that I’d sin again tomorrow. Where did I stand then? This would be a new lot of sins, committed after I’d been forgiven. I tried to do better in future. My destiny still seemed far from certain.
When I read that Jesus spent a lot of time on earth teaching about the Kingdom of God, I assumed that this was the same as the Kingdom of Heaven. If I looked further into this I might have discovered if I was any nearer to getting there. Then there was a bombshell. Jesus said, ‘the kingdom of God is within you’ (Luke 17:21). Confusion broke out.
It was some time later when someone pointed out to me that a kingdom has to have a king; and a king has subjects. And if I recognised Jesus to be King over my life, and subjected myself to His authority, I would be living in His Kingdom. But I knew I couldn’t fully comply with His authority in my sinful state. I still wasn’t good enough.
But it didn’t matter! The Apostle Paul said, ‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me’ (Galatians 2:20). ‘For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God’ (Colossians 3:3).
Jesus took me to the cross and I died with Him, with all my sins, past, present and future. I was born again by His resurrected Spirit from the dead. The old had gone. The new has come. ‘and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am’ (John 13:3). Hallelujah!
Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for bringing me through the confusion of my destiny to a place where I know that You are with me always. It’s such a safe place to be. Please help me to live by the power of Your Spirit all the days of my life. Amen.