BARRIERS TO HEAVEN
There are roadblocks and obstacles on the road to heaven that ensnares many people through the years. These barriers must be removed, or the golden street of Glory will be missed by millions of casual pilgrims who stumble along the way. Everyone talking about heaven will not see the gates of that eternal City. We need to be prepared as we struggle with the devious ways of the world and the pernicious doctrines of demons (1 Tim. 4:1). Satan has cleverly disguised his traps and pitfalls along the route and has even made error more appealing and sin more alluring to the weak and worldly folk who traverse the highway of life. The poet who penned the following was accurate, indeed: Many a man with life out of tune, And battered and scarred with sin, Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd, Much like an old violin.
We are extremely unwise when we allow the devil to use our lives as a launching pad for this chicanery: "Neither give place to the devil" (Eph. 4:27). We can only escape his fiery darts (Eph. 6:16) by a steadfast faith (1 Pet. 5:8,9). To be unaware of hell's fury and Satan's clever devices is to succumb to the sink holes and quicksand that gobbles us up in our journey through life. We shall never reach our desired destination of heaven, if we fail to avoid the schemes of our diabolical enemy.
When we are aware of, and prepared for, the barriers on the road to victory, we can overcome the tempter and press on to the hilltops of glory. Paul made it very clear that he longed to depart and be with Christ (Phil. 1:23). And so should we! One of the grandest songs of all tells of our longing for that beautiful home of the soul: And when thy face I see, My ransomed soul shall be, Through all eternity...Something for thee.
Christ is lovingly, tenderly and graciously beckoning us to that supernal realm and it would be tragedy to allow obstacles erected by Satan to deter us from the pathway of holiness. What are the barriers to the heavenly home? The poet, Whittier, was accurate indeed in these penetrating words: Of all the sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: "It might have been."
A LACK OF PREPARATION: The five foolish virgins had the door forever closed to them into God's sublime presence because they were unprepared (Matt. 25:1-13). When the Lord comes suddenly, "as a thief in the night" (1 Thes. 5:2), it will be too late for those who delayed and overlooked the urgency of the day of salvation. Just as Israel waited and all hope was lost (Ezk. 19:5), so shall it be for millions. Zephaniah spoke of the day of impending doom as a moment of sorrow, gloom, darkness and hopelessness (Zeph. 2:15). And another prophet writes, "It is time to seek the Lord" (Hos. 10:12). Unless we keep ourselves in the love of God (Jude 21), we cannot know the joy that comes to those who "die in the Lord" (Rev. 14:13). Nonchalantly pursuing the broad way that leads to destruction (Matt. 7:14) will take us down a long, crowded road that eventuates in eternal torment and despair.
OVERLOOKING DANGER SIGNALS: Just as there are warning signs on modern highways, so has God clearly marked problems we encounter in our pilgrimage toward Judgment Day. We are challenged to be on guard against evil companionships (1 Cor. 15:33), evil sensuality (1 Jno. 2;15) and the dangers of false teaching (Col. 2: 8-10). We must stop, look and listen to the grandeur of the great salvation as con- trasted with the vanity of riches (Heb. 2:3; 1 Tim. 6:17). Take the world, but give me Jesus, All its joys are but a name; But His love abideth ever, Through the endless years, the same!
REFUSING TO GROW SPIRITUALLY: When we fail to go forward in the divine realm we acknowledge that such exercise is unimportant to us and that secular attainment is more precious to us. But the mandates of the Bible powerfully insist that we grow spiritually and press on to nobler heights and richer matters. It was not enough for steam engine trains to have plenty of water on board, the water had to be heated by fire if the proper destination was obtained. We, as God's elect, must have zeal and determination and proper emphasis, as well, if we are to reach heaven (Phil. 2:12-15).
Self-denial, ardent devotion and scriptural emphasis must be our credentials, if we would enter into heaven. Do we really mean it when we sing the old hymn? I want to scale the utmost height, And catch a gleam of glory bright, For faith has caught the heavenly sound, The song of saints on higher ground.
May every barrier to heaven be overwhelmed by our firm resolve and our loving obedience.
By Johnny Ramsey in Gospel Minutes, Vol. 51, No. 28, July 12, 2002.
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