CONTRIBUTED BY ANDREW HART
Some weeks back I was discussing some things with a work colleague, who seemed quite interested in religion. She had explained the difficulties in her life, how she had to make some tough decisions to escape an abusive relationship, and how she needed to be strong to start a new life with her son. Now in a stable relationship, she concluded “my worries used to be about what’s happening to me here and now, keeping myself and my son safe; but now that I feel that has been achieved I think more about the life to come. But I can’t understand heaven; and why people who don’t believe in God talk about going to heaven”.
I asked her the following questions, and her answers follow
- Do you believe in heaven? “Yes”
- Will you be going to heaven? “I suppose so, if I follow the rules”
- Who makes the rules? “that depends on which God you believe in”
- Do you think different Gods have different heavens, each heaven being for those that follow their rules? “No, that doesn’t make sense, that would be like people are making Gods to believe in. But I think it’s the other way around, God makes people, and expects people to follow the rules”
- So what do you think you need to do to go to heaven? “Follow the rules God has made”
- And what do you think these rules are? “Things like: be good, make the most of your life, don’t hurt anyone”
Fascinating, isn’t it. This is such a common way of thinking, where people think that following the right set of rules will result in going to heaven.
And then, after a pause, she asked me “what do you think will get me to heaven?” Bingo, that’s SALVATION TEST question number 1!
This gave me the opportunity to explain scripture, and the multiple times we hear the answer “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and be saved”. Paul said it to the Philippian jailer in Acts 16:31, and to the Romans in chapter 10:9-10. Phillip explained this to the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8.
What do you think about this question? Does the answer given by Paul and Phillip fill you with wonder, awe and reverence, humility and gratitude? Or do you think that’s too easy, its more complicated than that?
And do we, like my colleague, think that following these rules will save us? Jesus was very cross with the rulers in Israel who made lots of rules to follow.
Our discussion moved on. To things like: who God is, the fall into sin, the evidence of sin in the world, what God has done to restore things, why he sent Jesus, what Jesus has done, and what we need to do to respond to God for what he has done for us.
So the Salvation Test question number 1 is: what do I need to do to be saved?
Do you have other questions on your own personal salvation test? How many other rules do you think you need to follow to be saved?
Paul said the Philippian jailer, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and be saved”!!!
Nothing else, no other questions, no other rules, just believe … and be saved!