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Gatekeeper to heaven

November 26, 2007

by Pastor Sven Johansson, Grace Apostles LutheranChurch, Cokato

I recently was able to purchase a book in Swedish (my native language). The author tells about her personal faith walk and many different experiences.

One of them caught my attention. As a young girl, she had many talks with her father. Once, she asked him,“ Why are there so many different kinds of Christians?”

Her father answered,” If you happen to meet someone and this person confesses himself to be a child of God by grace through the redemptive blood of Christ, for you is then to look at this person as a child of God.

“ It is not for you to start tearing at him for what little he has found, but rather from your common platform, you start your discussions with the Word of God as your guide. Perhaps at that very moment you will be given the grace to help another fellow human being in his walk of faith.

“Your job is not to be a gatekeeper to heaven. That is God’s work.”

This piece of advice is a great lesson for all of us, and especially for all who feel heaven is just for them, and only them.

There is no evidence in the Bible to support this theory. Rather, we are instructed “whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:15)

God made it very simple. We are to put all our hope, trust, and confidence in His Son, Jesus Christ – not in anything of ourselves or any other person.

We are not saved by any person, any church building, or anything we do. God loved us so much that he sent His Son to pay the sin debt we so rightfully deserved.

Before we were even born, God had perfected His plan for us. There was nothing for any one of us to add or take away. “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” ( Romans 5:8)

It is all by grace, the unmerited favor of God shown to all people in Christ, by which power He saves them. Unless God, himself, puts new life in us, we remain dead and forever in the prison of our sin.

We were fallen sinners, and the justice of God had to be satisfied. That satisfaction could only be made by His Son, true God and Man. Christ atoned for our sins. He paid for them on the cross so we could have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Faith is the means by which God gives us salvation. Faith is the living bond between a believer and Christ.By faith we are united to Christ and live out of Him, just like the branches live out of the vine.

We can leave the gatekeeping to God. He, alone, knows our heart.