Do we automatically go to heaven? (A modern parable)
Tim McConnell, the hospice chaplain, lowered the bedside rails so he could lean in closer.
“I’m not ready to die.” Dale gripped the minister’s arm. “I wish I could know definitely for sure that I’m going to heaven.”
Tim leaned in even closer. “Before our visit is over, you will know – definitely for sure – if you’re going to heaven. Okay?”
Dale smiled faintly. “I’ve been a pretty good guy. Was a good husband – not perfect, but I loved Bettye.” He coughed. “I wasn’t much of a church guy, but I gave what I could to charities.”
“Dale, being a good guy and giving to charities doesn’t mean we automatically go to heaven,” Tim said. “Have you heard about Jesus dying for your sins?”
“I remember hearing about John 3:16 when I was a kid. Don’t remember much of what it said – something about God “… so loved the world.’”
Tim pulled out his pocket Bible. “Here’s the verse:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
“So that’s all there’s to it?” Dale struggled to catch his breath.
“Actually, there’s a lot to it. Jesus was humiliated, beaten, scourged, and then crucified naked – for our sake. They pounded nails into His hands and feet. He hung in excruciating pain for hours until He died – for our sins.”
The two men stared quietly at each other.
“The thing is … Jesus did nothing to deserve that shame and suffering.”
Dale broke into a fit of coughing, and Tim handed him a cup of water from the nightstand.
“I’d like to read you one more verse.”
‘If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.’”
“We have to believe,” Tim continued, “to put our faith and confidence in Who Jesus is and what He did for us, not in the good things we’ve done.”
Dale wrinkled his brow.
“It comes down to this. Are you able to say that Jesus is Lord? Will you recognize Him as the ultimate authority over your life and all things?”
“Yes,” Dale paused. “I recognize Jesus as Lord.”
“Do you believe He took your sins on the cross, died for them, rose from the dead, and is alive today?”
He nodded. “I do. I believe.”
“Then, according to God’s Word, you are going to heaven when you die. Welcome to God’s family!”
Dale smiled – the most definite for-sure smile he had ever smiled. “Thank you.”
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Wow! Thank you for the wonderful reminder that our salvation is not based on who we are or what we do. Rather it is based on who Jesus is and what He did for us.
Amen. We have an amazing Savior!! (Thank you, Wendy, for visiting Today Can Be Different!)
Thanks you this was a good read.and so many people don’t know this.thanks for sharing
You’re welcome, Marjorie. AND thank you for your kind words – and for stopping by Today Can Be Different – AND for subscribing to this blog!!
This is such an important message!
We will do good works if we are a true believer, but our Good works are a result of us being a believer and do not get us to heaven.
Exactly!! Amen! Thank you, Judith!