|Vol. 15 No. 11 November 2013||
One of the many definitions of the word “means” that Webster states, is a method used to attain an end. When we understand and know God and His Son as they are revealed in Scripture, we become keenly aware of the fact that they say what they mean and mean what they say. This straightforward approach eliminates the possibility of anyone successfully using an alternate method when divine truth has been spoken. Scripture cannot be broken (John 10:35).
This is clearly seen in the account of the rebellion and complaining of the children of Israel in Numbers 13. Their refusal to believe what God had said led to the doom of all persons 20-years-old and above. God passed a death sentence on the rebels. He said in Numbers 14:29-30, “The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above. Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun, you shall by no means enter the land which I swore I would make you dwell in” (emphasis added).
When the people heard this, they mourned greatly. They went to Moses and said they would go up to the place that God had promised, for they had sinned. In Numbers 14:41-42 Moses said, “Now why do you transgress the command of the LORD? For this will not succeed. Do not go up, lest you be defeated by your enemies, for the LORD is not among you.” However, they presumed to go up to the mountaintop, and as Moses had told them, they met with a crushing defeat!
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke numerous eternal truths that challenged the hearers of that day. The demands and expectations of what He said are with us to this day. Speaking to that multitude, Jesus told them, “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20 emphasis added). What was He saying to them and to all of us? None of us have any righteousness of our own, no matter how good we think we are! When we obey the Gospel, Jesus Christ becomes our righteousness and our Advocate before God’s throne. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). There is no way that we could ever deserve salvation in and of ourselves!
John Mark gives us a tender and most compassionate look into the character of the Lord Jesus Christ in Mark 10:13-16. Little children had been brought to Him, “that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them.” Verses 14-15 state, “But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it” (emphasis added). Verse 16 is a three-dimensional word picture that should bring us all to our knees. “And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.” The message is distinctively clear: To enter the kingdom of the Son of God’s love, we must empty ourselves of our pride, arrogance and self-importance. We must see ourselves as doomed because the only people that God saves are sinners! Psalm 34:18 says, “The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.” We must come to a profound sense of our own sinfulness and how lost we are!
The glimpse of heaven that the apostle John gave us in Revelation 21 and 22 is spectacular. He said in Revelation 21:23, “The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.” Verses 24-26 continue revealing to us the grandeur of heaven. However, verse 27 is the reality check of all reality checks. “But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life” (emphasis added). What unmistakable, eternal truth was John declaring? If your name is not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, you cannot and you will not go to heaven!
The eternal truth of Matthew 7:13-14 can never be reversed, changed or eliminated. Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
In the same chapter of Matthew 7 in verse 21, Jesus stated another eternal truth. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” We must become students of God’s Word and servants of His will. Obeying God is not one option among many! Multiplied millions continue to try to nullify these eternal, inescapable truths. If we choose to rebel against God in living a life contrary to His Word, the result will be as predictable as it is tragic!
Our choice to obey God leads to eternal life. Shortly before His death, Jesus prayed in John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” The question of questions: “Do we know God and His Son as they have been revealed to us in scripture?” Our eternal destiny depends on how we honestly respond, and our lives exemplify that response.