June 2, 2014
II Peter 1:10, 11
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Making a Grand Entrance! It usually means coming into a place or situation with pomp and circumstance! It is the kind of entrance that seems to demand attention because of office, accomplishments or even the event at hand. Peter points out in II Peter 1:10 and 11 that we can make a Grand Entrance into heaven:
Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your calling and election
sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance
will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ.
A pastor friend of mine one time had a man ask him, “What can I do just to get into heaven? I don’t care about rewards, I just want to get there!” My friend’s response? “I’m not interested in just getting to heaven! I want to fill up every pocket, suitcases, boxes – anything I can carry! I want to enter heaven abundantly loaded down!” Now why would this man want to know how to just get into heaven? Because he wanted to live not just in the world, but still be part of it, even as a Christian! That’s a dangerous attitude! According to Jesus’ prayer in John 17, We Christians have been given to Christ by the Father “…out of the world.” We are still “…in the world…,” but “…not of the world…” (John 17:6. 11, 16). And John also wrote in I John 2:15 through 17:
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world,
the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the lust of
the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father,
but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he
who does the will of God abides forever.
The man mentioned above wanted just enough faith to be saved, but not enough to interfere with participating in the fun and thrills this sinful world offers! That kind of faith produces few if any results in life! And James said “Faith that doesn’t show itself by good works is no faith at all – it is dead and useless.” (James 2:17 – The Living Bible).
But real faith – faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to cleanse us from sin and make us new in Him from the inside out, will result in a changed life that rejoices to work for God and His kingdom! And the main work of God is sharing the gospel so that others will also be saved! This includes teaching and training Christians to be more devoted followers of our Lord – to be more powerful witnesses of His love, His holiness, His justice – so others also can escape hell and gain heaven abundantly!
This is what James is talking about when he says in verse 11, “…if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” An abundant entrance – I want that – especially since the Lord offers it! I want to bring into heaven family, friends and everyone else who touches my life! That’s why I have committed to write this blog – Gems For Living – three times a week for the last 15 months. And I plan to continue as long as God gives me strength and health to do it!
Is it wrong to want rewards in heaven? No, not at all. For Jesus plainly said in Mark 9:41, “…whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in My name…assuredly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” It’s not that I do good works just because I will get rewards! I live my life in service to others out of my love for Jesus Christ who gave so much to me! The fact that He will reward whatever we do for Him is kind of an extra bonus!
Another thing about rewards in heaven: in Matthew 25 Jesus tells about a judgment that is often called the dividing of sheep and goats. The Lord told the faithful ones – designated in this passage as sheep – “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…” (Matthew 25:34). But they are utterly surprised by the glories they were receiving, and asked Jesus in verses 37 through 39:
Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty, and give You drink?
When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or
when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to you?
His answer? Matthew 25:40 – “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to me.” The point is, they didn’t even realize that what they were doing was going to be richly rewarded! They were just doing it because it was the right thing to do! Maybe this is one of the big reasons why Paul wrote in I Corinthians 2:9, “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
The Grand Entrance into heaven will be far and away more than anything we have ever seen, heard of, or even imagined! I hope this gives you an intense desire to live your life passionately for Jesus Christ!
Our scripture mentions do these things. What things? In Wednesday’s blog we will look at the list Peter gives in the five verses before today’s featured scripture.