Missing heaven by 18 inches
Heaven has made the headlines in recent weeks following the death and funeral of the Reverend Billy Graham.
His obituary stated, “ Throughout his life, Billy Graham preached the gospel of Jesus Christ to some 215 million people who attended one of his more than 400 Crusades, simulcasts and evangelistic rallies in more than 185 countries and territories. He reached millions more through TV, video, film, the internet and 34 books.”
A record of 50 times, Reverend Graham was ranked among the top 10 “most admired persons” in Gallup polls. However, his accomplishments and accolades did not guarantee his entrance into heaven. Graham once said, “I will not go to heaven because I am a preacher. I am going to heaven entirely on the merit of the work of Christ.”
I’ve heard it said, “The ground is level at the foot of the cross.” Each of us must answer the question Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” It’s not about religion, rather it’s a relationship with God. It’s not about a head-knowledge or mental agreement; a relationship with God is based on a heart-acceptance. There’s 18 inches between your head and your heart, so don’t miss heaven by 18 inches. Billy Graham’s “Steps To Peace With God” tract explains what that means. You can read these steps below:
- God’s Plan—Peace and Life – God loves you and wants you to experience His peace and life. The Bible says: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
- Our Problem—Separation – Being at peace with God is not automatic, because by nature you are separated from God. The Bible says: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
- God’s Remedy—The Cross – God’s love bridges the gap of separation between God and you. When Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the grave, He paid the penalty for your sins. The Bible says: “He personally carried the load of our sins in his own body when he died on the cross” (1 Peter 2:24).
- Our Response—Receive Christ – You cross the bridge into God’s family when you receive Christ by personal invitation. The Bible says: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). To receive Christ you need to do four things:
- Admit your spiritual need. “I am a sinner.”
- Repent and be willing to turn from your sin.
- Believe that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross.
- Receive, through prayer, Jesus Christ into your heart and life. Christ says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in” (Revelation 3:20). The Bible says, “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).
Would you pray? Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and need Your forgiveness. I believe that You died for my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I now invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ name, Amen
Jan White is an national award-winning religion columnist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org