Weekly Devotions - January 23, 2018
“...‘There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away...’” (Romans 3:10-11, NIV 1984).
Shawn had been a patient of mine for 17 years. We had walked together through a low-grade brain tumor that had finally completed its path. She loved the Lord and had lived a vibrant life of service throughout her tumor years. I loved how her minister at the funeral today described her destination:
“Shawn was a good person and she is in heaven now. Shawn was a good person, but that’s not the reason she is in heaven. Heaven is not a reward; it is a relationship. She is in heaven because the Father said, “Would you be a part of my family?” and she answered, “I would love to.”
“Heaven is not a reward; it’s a relationship.”
All humans have fallen out of relationship with our God. That’s our human state, beginning with Adam (Romans 3:23). We cannot gain heaven without returning to that relationship, and we cannot regain that relationship on our own.
All of us, and all whom we have known, have been invited, through Christ, to rejoin the family of God. Some of us have said, “We would love to”—and He welcomed us home.
My patient’s priest continued, “The good news is that God invites us all to be part of His family. The bad news is that we have a choice.” And we do.
God asks us to choose Him, not just in belief, but also in commitment. If we choose to commit to Jesus as Lord, we are drawn back into relationship and heaven is ours. Heaven is a relationship, not a reward.
Of course, the reason we have the choice at all is completely dependent on God’s grace. Whether or not I choose to be part of God’s family, that door was shut and could not have been opened, no matter what I did, until Jesus died for my sins. And then the door flung open and God said, “Welcome home!” I said, “Yes!” and heaven is mine, good person or not—of course, I’d rather be good.
Shawn was a good person and she is now in heaven, with or without her goodness. Shawn is in heaven because the Father invited her, and she chose to be a part of God’s family, and on the cross Jesus opened the door to welcome her in.
Make me good for your glory. Thank you that you have accepted me, with or without my goodness.