What if you knew the way to heaven was forever barred from you …
You knew that you’d screwed up enough that you’d get nowhere near the presence of a holy God …
Would you still choose to live the life of a believer?
On occasion, this thought runs through my mind. “Tom, maybe you’ve blown your chance of ever going to heaven and seeing the Lord face to face.”
That thought wiggles and squiggles into my soul when I read certain passages of Scripture, like this one found in Hebrews 10.
“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?”
I don’t write this post to scare the bejeebers out of you. I just know those words sober me up like coffee and a cold shower (although I have no actual experience of getting “sobered up”; my usual debauchery doesn’t involve alcohol).
After reading the Hebrews passage, I asked myself, “Tom Tarver, would you continue to follow Jesus even if you never went to heaven?”
My answer is similar to Peter’s when asked by Jesus, “You don’t want to leave also, do you?”
Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God” (see John 6).
I can leave a church.
I can leave a town.
I can leave a state.
I can leave a country.
In fact, I have left all of the above.
What I can’t do is leave Jesus.
Because He has “the words of eternal life” and I’ve come to know Him as “the Holy One of God.”
I can let go of a lot of things, but I can’t let go of Him. I am the widow with an issue of blood touching the hem of His garment. I am the woman weeping at the feet of the Lord. I am the leper falling down and crying, “Lord, have mercy on me.” I am the demon-possessed man crouching in fear of Him and yet drawn to Him.
Even if heaven’s boundaries are posted with Tom-Tarver-Do-Not-Enter signs, I must cling to the Lord—even if my only reward is knowing Him in this life. I find Peter’s statement, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” to be my mantra.
I’m curious to know, what about you?
Michael Hyatt’s “The Primary Difference Between the Wise and Foolish”
Sutton Park‘s “Introduction to My New Book” (this is a five minute video promoting his book You Can Sleep in Your Car But You Can’t Drive Your House to Work; he shares his down-and-out story and learning to be grateful–worth the time to hear)
Top 3 Posts the past week:
Does Your Competitive Streak Sometimes Kill the Joy of Community?
A Tale of Two Flight Attendants
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Never thought of it that way before… but “better is one day in his presence (courts) than thousands elsewhere.” (Psalm 84:10) A lifetime of following Him is worth even just a day in his presence, even if all I had left was a memory of that day and eternity was blocked from me. Thank You Jesus that it’s not though!
Perfect verse to remind us all of the truth. I’m already singing that chorus in my head.
Hi Tom. Saw your comment on someone’s blog earlier today (but can’t remember right now cuz I didn’t respond right away) and also saw your guest post on Stretched. Love your writing, especially the one about the competitive streak. I was once asked if there is anything I regret by being a Christian. Did I miss the sexual freeness? Did I miss the parties? Did I miss the money that would be mine? etc. I didn’t do the first two to begin with so what am I missing? I have always given to the Lord so no, I don’t miss keeping it. I can honestly say there isn’t a thing I miss. I wouldn’t trade this life in Jesus for anything in the world. Thanks for the challenging thought today.
Thanks, Bill, for your encouragement and for the clear statement that following Jesus beats what the world has to offer. By the way, I remember your comments about Nissan, Trek, and another bicycle brand in response to Jon’s ice breaker. I think that idea of an ice breaker is wonderful. I love reading other people’s opinions and experiences.
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