I have found it nearly impossible, and that is probably an understatement, to engage anyone today in a discussion on the teachings of the Bible without being asked, sooner rather than later, what I believe it takes to get to heaven. Most simply ask straightforwardly, “What must a person do to get to heaven?”
Not much has changed in the past thirty-five to forty years. I remember trying to raise support for my ministry in Portland, Oregon. I was following through with a contact that had been given to me from another Christian who had decided to support my ministry. He felt that this friend of his would respond also. So I entered this man’s business and told him of my ministry with college students and of my need for monthly support. At the end of my presentation, he turned around and grabbed a note pad and pen off his supply shelf and wrote a question for me to answer. He said, “Before I’d consider helping you, you have to answer this question: ‘What must a person do to go to heaven?’”
We have been taught all our lives that the most important thing we can do for a dying relative or friend is to lead him or her to faith in Jesus before he or she passes into the next world unprotected. This scenario has been recently, and I must add, powerfully, set before us in the movie God is not Dead. In the last scene of the movie, the greatest antagonist against the belief in God is hit by a car on his way to a concert being helped by the protagonists who want to glorify God. While it is apparent that the antagonist is repentant and desirous of changing his ways as he makes his way to the concert, a minister, with whom he has had a couple of dialogues, sees him lying in the street during a pouring rain. He runs up to him and gives him a simple, last chance to trust in Jesus. And he does. The scene actually gives the viewer chills; it is so exciting. It did that for me at least.
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