Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Heaven's Wall and Hell's Borders?

In the last few days I've had a number of friends - a surprising number, really - post a photo that reads, "Heaven has a wall and strict immigration policies. Hell has open borders." Then it ends with that overused phrase, "Let that sink in."

As I read this, it strikes me that it paints a very different picture of God and His Heaven than scripture does.

The first verse that comes to mind is one written by one of Jesus's closest friends, Peter. He says that God is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)

Then I think of the parable Jesus tells in Luke 14. In this story, a man prepares a feast, and those invited decline the invitation. So the man says to his servants, "Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame." The servant does so, then says, "Sir, what you ordered has been done, but there is still room." So the man replies, "Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full." (Luke 14)

Again, Timothy states this same idea: "He wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth." (I Timothy 2:4)

Scripture paints a picture of an inclusive God of love, one who wants everyone to come in. The statement that some are sharing on social media does the opposite, it portrays a picture of an exclusive God, who makes it hard to get in.

I responded on a couple of my friends' posts with this: "Heaven's government has made it easy for anyone to get in who wants to - simply say yes to Jesus. Heaven's government wants everyone to be there, wanting none to be kept out. Those who get in do so at a great price to the government - the very life of the Leader."

Some argue, "But what about the law? Aren't we a nation of laws?" Indeed, Heaven is built on God's laws, and these laws serve as entry requirements to the kingdom. But in His wisdom and love, God realizes that everyone of us is a lawbreaker. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) So He pays the price for our lawbreaking, and credits us with His perfect record, his righteousness. Then He says, "Come unto Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)

So, dear friends, let your politics be what they may. But when it comes to painting a picture of God and His kingdom, let's show the God of scripture, the God who revealed Himself in Jesus, the God who invites everyone to come in.