“Are you working your way toward Heaven?”Categories: In the Bulletin
It might be a long way to go. In Genesis 28.12, Jacob laid his head down and saw a ladder stretching from earth to Heaven. "And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to Heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it!" Let me ask you this brother or sister, you think you can climb that ladder? Are you working your way toward Heaven? Well then stop. You won't make it like that. Okay, maybe this admonition needs a bit more elaboration.
The point is often stated from Ephesians 2.8-9 that one cannot earn their way to Heaven by their own good deeds. The apostle writes to those in Ephesus reminding them of the means by which they have been saved. "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." So, is this passage really teaching that there's no way for us to work our way to Heaven? Certainly. The wages of sin is death. We could never pay God back for what He has done for us. He came to earth and laid down His life so that we wouldn't have to pay that price. That's the grace that Paul is talking about in this passage. However, Paul goes on in verse 10, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Paul makes clear that our purpose is glorifying God. Even though our works do not earn or merit Heaven, we were created to be living testaments to the glory of God. We are required to do certain things in order to accept the gift of salvation that God has given us. We are further not just commanded but privileged to live lives that show the love of God. That does not mean that the things we do somehow earn our way to Heaven. It’s our faith, a living faith, James 2.24, that God rewards with the crown of glory. So, while our works don't earn us Heaven, we do still have to try. We can't make it all the way. We will stumble in our obedience...but with a faithful heart, God will carry us the rest of the way.
So, how’s your work ethic…and why do you do the works that you do?
- Cain Atkinson