“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith,
having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience
…Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess,
for he who promised is faithful.”
Hebrews 10:22a-23 NIV
I am thankful that God’s Word tells me there is a heaven. “Rejoice and be glad, for great is your reward in heaven,” Matthew 5:12a NIV. The truth is; there is a heaven and someday soon every one of us will meet God face to face. Some people will get to stay with him forever and others will be asked to leave his presence forever.
If you have accepted Jesus Christ you need not fear meeting God face to face and standing in the presence of the one who gave his life for you. Yet, I have met some wonderful Christians who do fear this experience. I have been in that position myself. Today I would like to suggest one reason why you might experience fear upon meeting God. You might be afraid of hearing him ask this question, “What have you ever done that would cause me to allow you to enter into my heaven?”
My first experience in church found me in a “religion” that had a lot of rules to keep. I never could keep all of the rules or do all of the things that was required of me. I thought that if I could keep all of the rules I would have God’s favor. I was frustrated. I was fearful. There was no joy in that religion. I had two boxes. One contained “a list” of things I could NOT do and the other box contained “a list” of things I SHOULD do. I was a failure on both counts. Week after week I would sit in church and vow to do better. But I found that even before our Sunday lunch was over I would have said something that I shouldn’t have said and upon entering church the following Sunday I realized I still had left many things undone! Then I would become fearful because my attempt to be perfect had once again ended in failure. My spiritual focus was on religion and its rules vs. a personal relationship with God. I was trying to earn God’s favor.
My loving God saw my fear and frustration and showed me another way. It was the way of “grace.” God’s grace taught me that because of Jesus I was forgiven. It was a done deal. Then God began to teach me that I was to be responsible and accountable for my behavior. When I was faced with failure he reminded me that we were in this relationship together. I learned that it was my job to ask God for his strength to help me with the things that I found impossible to do in my own strength. I began to wonder why God was always faithfully there for me, and then I realized that it was because he loved me and we were on a journey together. I was no longer afraid of God but now filled with joy because of the knowledge that the Spirit of God lived inside of me, to be my helper and my friend. I left “religion” behind and moved into a “relationship” with Jesus Christ.
I realized that trying to be good and doing good deeds would never be enough to get rid of the sin in my life. I could never do anything that would provide me with a suitable answer to God’s question. I now know that when I meet God face to face I simply will reply, “The only thing that I have ever done that would allow me to enter your heaven is that I have accepted and put my trust in the sacrifice and forgiveness that your son, Jesus Christ, made for me.” Jesus has paid my admission price into heaven. “…there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” Romans 8:1 NIV. The fear of meeting God face to face is gone.
Are you a fearful or a joyful believer?
Are you trying to keep rules or do good deeds so that you will be sure you are going to heaven?
If so, what are those rules and/or good deeds?
How many rules do you need to keep?
How many good deeds are enough?
What if you are short one good deed?
Has God provided a better way?
What is that way?
Have you accepted the way God has provided for you?
It seems that it really is so simple! Why have I complicated your free gift of salvation? Help me to accept in simple faith that you want to get me safely home to heaven. You are indeed a God of love because you have made it so simple. Perhaps it is the simplicity that I have not been able to comprehend. So right now God, I am going to take a leap of faith and accept your free gift of salvation through your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank you God that I no longer fear meeting you face to face.
In Jesus’ Name I pray. – Amen