Knocking On Doors

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” -Revelation 3:20 (NIV)

Can we knock on the gates of Heaven? We like to think we can. Whether we are open about it or not, we feel that with all our good works under our belts and all our theological knowledge in our heads, we are deserving of a place in Heaven. But the truth is that we cannot ensure a place in Heaven with these things. We may have fed every starving mouth in the world in our selfless service and know every theological concept in existence. However, if we have not personally acknowledged that we are sinners in need of salvation and have not allowed God to take care of the wickedness that resides in our hearts, we will never be able to enter Heaven.

No one can enter Heaven by their own merits. According to God’s standards on what constitutes as sin, none of us will be able to say with confidence that we have lived a pure and sinless life. God cannot tolerate impurity, however little, because by His nature He is holy. If we find even a small pinch of dirt in a glass of water, do we regard it as being pure or impure? Likewise, despite all our works and knowledge, God cannot allow us into His Heaven if we are still bound by sin.

From the moment that Adam and Eve sinned, God knew that man would not be able to reconcile themselves to Him. He promised Eve that her offspring would crush the head of the serpent, Satan. This referred to the coming of Jesus who through His death and resurrection, has paid the penalty of sin for all of humanity and broken the hold Satan had over the world. Though we cannot reach Heaven because of our own limitations, in His grace, God has come down to humanity so that He may redeem His creation through Christ. He now stands at the door of our hearts and knocks. He will not barge in because He respects the free will He has given us. Once our doors are opened, we have an assured passage to Heaven because we have allowed Him to come into our hearts. The question for us is, why do we deny ourselves divine help when we know we need it to attain salvation?

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

To Truly Forgive

“‘If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying “I repent,” you must forgive them.’” -Luke 17:3-4 (NIV)

Forgiveness is not something which comes naturally for us. The resentments and grudges we hold, and our willingness to hold onto new ones, continues to remind us of this fact. When we have been slighted and hurt by someone else, it is easy to allow anger and bitterness to settle in. We might boast about our abilities to forgive, but we will always be reminded that our forgiveness has limits. The moment we declare an action to be unforgivable we have confessed to ourselves that we are unable to show that unconditional love and grace we are so keen to show off. We may be able to forgive the first time, and perhaps even the second. But our patience soon begins to wear thin, and we deem our offenders not worthy of our mercy.

Why choose forgiveness? When we are faced with injustice we want our enemies to feel retribution, not give them clemency. But if we allow our desire for revenge to fester, it will consume us. We will become prisoners of our anger, and we will soon find that in our thoughts, words, and actions, we will have fallen into sin. As children of Christ we forgive because we do not deserve it ourselves. All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s holy standards. Yet, in His unfailing love, God sent down His Son, Jesus Christ, so that through Him we may find forgiveness. When we accept this free gift of salvation and allow the Spirit of Christ to cleanse us of our sin, we are able to stand before God not because of anything we have done, but by the grace He has willingly shown us. If He does not withhold forgiveness from us no matter what we do, why should we refrain from doing so as His children? Only through allowing Christ’s Spirit to perfect His love in us will we be able to truly extend the hand of forgiveness; in that finding freedom and life.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Nothing is Ours

“Stop trusting in man, who has but a breath in his nostrils. Of what account is he?” -Isaiah 2:22 (NIV)

We like to think of ourselves as independent and powerful. As a result we often admire, even idolize, the abilities we as collective humanity possess. Looking at all the advances we have made in science and art, we say to ourselves that man is supreme and that we are the only authority we can trust. But not even the most powerful and intelligent of men can compare before God. In fact, it was Him who gave us the faculties to achieve what we boast about. Who gave us legs to travel and hands to build? Who gave us minds to invent marvelous things and create works of such artistic beauty? Who is it that gives us breath to sustain us? Was it not God who has created each and every one of us? Therefore, we cannot elevate man without looking like fools ourselves because God has enabled us to do everything we do!

When we place our trust in man, disappointment is inevitable. Eventually we will realize that man has his limitations and can never overcome his innate depravity. In whom then can we trust? Upon whom can we lean? Man was meant to live in a loving relationship with God. That is why throughout history and in all cultures, man is seeking Him. However, because of our fallen nature, man is looking for Him in all the wrong places. Yet despite our failings and our pride, God wants to restore our relationship with Him so that we may have everlasting life and peace. He does this through His Son, Jesus Christ. By His death and resurrection we are freed from our sin and are reconciled to our Creator. When we have allowed Christ to invade our hearts and have placed our trust in Him, He will open our eyes to see the world around us as it is. Looking through His eyes we will know that all have been corrupted by sin, but have the hope of being redeemed by the power of Christ. Knowing that in Christ we have an eternal confidence that cannot be stripped away, He will give us boldness to proclaim His Name so that all may be restored and have life through Him.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.