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We are just about to head out for Israel with a group I'll be hosting. This will be our 4th
trip since 1998. Since "98" we squeezed in another trip to Greece, Turkey and Rome. We know what to expect: Lots of airplane time coming our way! But it will be worth it on the other end.
One thing that you air travelers know very well, is the need for a boarding pass to get on the plane. You know the drill of how to get one: check-in online at home within 24 hours of departure, or use the kiosk at check-in at the airport.
There's a sense in which each of us also is aware that we need a boarding pass for a trip to heaven as well. We may not think of it that way, but if we are asked, "Are you going to heaven and if you are, how do you know?" we'll have an answer that includes our own personal version of a boarding pass.
- "I'm going to heaven, sure, because I'm a good person."
- "I'm going to heaven, sure, because I believe in God."
- "I'm going to heaven, sure, isn't everyone? God is love and would never keep anyone out of heaven. And if it doesn't work that way I don't want to go anyway."
- "I'm going to heaven, sure, because if that jerk John Doe over there is going, anyone can make it. I'm not as bad as he is."
- "I'm going to heaven, sure, because all spiritual roads lead to heaven. There isn't just one way."
- "I'm going to heaven, sure, because the good things I've done in life outweigh the bad things I've done."
- "I'm going to heaven, sure, because I don't hurt people and I try to be honest."
- "Why do you ask whether I'm going to heaven? Who are you to judge." (A nice defensive ploy when one is uncertain of an answer, is to make the questioner look bad. It doesn't change anything, but it helps us feel a bit more self-righteous while making the other person appear to be judgmental.)
Is your answer in this list above? If it is, here's the bad news. None of these answers is the right answer to the question of how to get a boarding pass for heaven. At least according to the Bible.
We get it as to why people choose the answers that they do. Sometimes this is what they have been taught, and other times they just don't know for sure, so they choose something that seems to make sense. And humanly speaking there are aspects of the answers above that make sense. The problem is that the ticket agent at the heavenly gate is God, not us. He has another idea.
If we want to get into heaven on our own, our Boarding Pass has to be marked "Super First Class Section: Only for those who have never sinned". Ok
, we are all disqualified for that one. There's no one sitting in that section, although there are seats for it on the heavenly plane.
There is no "First Class" section that is simply more expensive to buy than Coach, but that anyone with the cash can get a ticket for. And there is no "Business Class". There is only "Coach."
In Coach the price of the ticket has been paid by someone else. Jesus Christ paid the price for your ticket to heaven and mine. When Christ died on the Cross, an account was created for you with "Heavenly Airlines." But you have to log on and check in to get your Boarding Pass.
Some information will be required when you log on. You know those fields with the little red "asterisk" *
that say "required
"? That's how this works. And the required information comes in the form of honest answers to these questions:1. Do you admit that you are a sinner?
(The correct answer is, "Yes!!".)2. Have you turned away from your sin and turned to God?
(Being sorry for sin isn't enough. With God's help we have to sincerely turn away from sin and also turn to God. We won't succeed in not sinning, but that isn't the issue. The issue is what we sincerely want to walk with the Lord instead of going our own way as we have in the past.)3. Have you put your faith in Jesus Christ and him alone for your forgiveness?
(Being "good" won't get you any part of heaven; neither will praying, going to church, giving money or following some set of rules. The only thing that gets us forgiven is Christ's death, burial and resurrection.
in him alone for our forgiveness.)4. Have you surrendered your life to the Lordship Christ.
(If you haven't given the Lord your life to do with what he will, you haven't fully repented and turned to the Lord. Some people want the "fire insurance" of salvation, but have no intention of following the Lord. If that is a person's condition, then they haven't really repented (see step 2), and are still living in rebellion. God isn't a fool. He knows if you mean it when you say you repent.)
Here's an example of what your form might look like on the Boarding Pass screen:
"Lord, I come to you today and admit that I am a sinner. I have offended you many times by the things I have done. Today I turn away from that sin and choose to turn to you. I know that I'll likely fail in following you as I should, but I really do want to go your way and not mine. Please remember that on the days that I fall.
Today I put my trust in Jesus Christ as both my Savior and my Lord. I ask that you let me into heaven one day, not because of anything I have done or will do, but because Jesus died on the cross for me and paid the penalty for my sin. You have promised that you will not cast out anyone who comes to you through Christ. Here I am.
And today Lord, I choose to follow you as Lord. I mean that word "Lord." I don't know what plans you have for my life, but I give you control over every aspect of my life and ask that you'd give me the wisdom to know what you are leading me to do, and courage to do it.
Thank you for granting me eternal life today as you promised. Amen"
There you go. Those are the requirements for the Boarding Pass and the right information to sincerely fill in the blanks with.
There is a lot that goes on once you have the Boarding Pass. The PILOT has some pre
-trip things for you and me to do; things that make life wonderful and interesting...and scary and challenging. But knowing we have the Boarding Pass makes it all make sense and worthwhile.
Do you have yours? If you don't, take the time to go back through the 4 steps and then in your own words use the prayer example and talk to the Lord. He's online right now waiting for your application.
You need to get your Boarding Pass today. Your flight could leave at a time you don't expect. God wants you on the plane. He really, really does.