IT TAKES EFFORT

 

          Anything worthwhile takes effort.  To prepare for a vocation in life takes many years of preparation.  To be a good football player takes hours of practice daily.  And whoever heard of a preacher who did a good job the very first time he ever tried to preach a sermon?  Most people recognize the truth of these statements, and are willing to make the sacrifice to achieve their goals in life.  However, a great many people have fallen victim to Satan’s propaganda that nothing is required in order to go to heaven.  Satan works hard to lead as many astray as possible.  He can even quote scripture, but you can be sure that he will pervert it.  One of his most often quoted passages is Ephesians 2:8,9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”  Of course, to teach the false doctrine of “faith only” it has to be doctored somewhat; one has to convince the hearer that Paul was talking about works of all kinds, and that these are excluded; that we are saved by faith only.  Of course, all other passages in the New Testament in connection with salvation have to be ignored.  However, the wise Bible scholar knows that one is suspect whenever he tries to use any passage in an exclusive manner.  Every passage in the Bible must be in harmony with every other passage in order to arrive at truth.

 

          It does take effort to reach heaven, but it is worth all the effort that is necessary.  Heaven is for those who desire to go there enough to make the necessary preparations.  God has given us a road map from earth to heaven, the New Testament, and it tells us exactly what God expects of us.  It tells the alien sinner how to become a child of God, and then it tells the Christian how to live the Christian life.  If you are an alien sinner, having never come to Christ for the forgiveness of your past sins, God’s word tells you that the beginning place is faith.  “But without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb.11:6).  He tells you also that you must repent of your sins. (Lk.13:3).  He says that you must confess Christ before witnesses (Rom.10:9,10).  And he says that you must be buried with Christ in baptism for the remission of  your sins (Rom.6:3,4; Acts 2:38).  To the Christian, he says, “…Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Rev.2:10).  Isn’t heaven worth that much effort?