Three Surprises in Heaven

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’” (Matthew 7:21, 22).

Not everyone will make it to heaven. What is more, not everyone who looks, and sounds religious will make it to heaven. Many whom we consider “Christian” may not make it; many who consider themselves Christians may not make it.  Don’t you hear surprise in the voices of those who respond, “Lord, Lord, did we not …”

They didn’t make it, and they didn’t see that coming!

C.S. Lewis once declared that there would be three surprises in heaven: “Who’s there; who’s not; and the fact that you’re there.”

There may be some people I was not impressed by who quietly lived their Christianity, and who made it to heaven. Certainly God knew more about their hearts’ condition than I. There may be some who impressed me, who made a fine show of their religion who are not there; God knew the condition of their hearts, too. And If I am there, I can at least reflect on the truth that it was God’s grace that allowed me in.

So the lesson to learn here is, if you feel confident of your being accepted into heaven … you might be one of those who do not. In Jesus’ declaration there were some who had presumed upon God. They would “prophesy,” “cast out demons,” “do many works” in Christ’s name. They looked like ducks, walked like ducks, but they couldn’t swim!

Please note the criterion for acceptance: “The one who does the will of (the) father in heaven.” When God makes his requirements clear, we need to comply. When the Lord directs, we need to follow.

Make sure that when you get to heaven, there will only be two surprises. Who’s there, and who’s not. Make sure you are there.

-Stan Mitchell

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