A little over 4 decades ago, when I traveled home from college, I flew at a much reduced rate on a ‘student stand-by’ ticket. I stood at the gate and waited to see if the flight had empty seats left. I was not assured a reservation. It was a very different time in the airline industry. Airplanes were not usually packed like they are today, so most of the time, as long as I did not try to fly on prime flights, I would make it home. There was one trip home at Christmas when I spent most of the day in Chicago’s O’Hare Airport trying to get on a flight because weather issues had caused some cancellations which filled up remaining flight. When I was 18 traveling that way was an adventure. Today, when I go to the airport, I want to be assured of a seat on that plane.
I am going to be direct!
Are you ticketed with a full reservation for that final flight to the Presence of God?
Many people seem to believe that they will enjoy heaven on a space-available basis. Are you one of them? OK, I hear you. “Jerry, what a lousy topic. Who wants to think about the end of life here?” I understand that death can be grim, but here is reality, friend: Mortality is 100%! And, the Scripture makes it clear that when this body ceases to function, we live on. The question is where will we spend eternity.
I have no death wish, but I do anticipate that moment when I make the transition from time to eternity, from what is known to what is promised. I have an assured reservation, a place prepared, that takes most of the fear of death away for me. This passage is one to live by though we preachers use it often at funerals. Jesus said, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” (John 14:1-3, NLT)
We need not settle for ‘hope so, could be’ thinking. We can enjoy a confirmed reservation, purchased for us by Jesus Christ, made available to us as a gift. Like Paul, we can say, “I know in Whom I have believed and am convinced that He is able to guard what I’ve entrusted to Him…” The Word makes this promise to those who live in faith – “So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that great, perfect sanctuary in heaven, not made by human hands and not part of this created world. Once for all time he took blood into that Most Holy Place, but not the blood of goats and calves. He took his own blood, and with it he secured our salvation forever.” (Hebrews 9:11-12, NLT)
That is a wonderful phrase – “He secured our salvation forever!” We don’t have to wait to die to see if there is room in the Father’s house for us. We need not be anxious about our inevitable flight. He, at His own expense, purchased our salvation and gives us life, eternal and full! The ticket is issued, paid in full.
Christianity is not just about eternal life insurance, friend. When we receive Christ, by faith, offering a simple prayer that affirms our hope in Him, we have just started the great adventure! Being ‘saved’ is as much about how we live now as it is about going to Heaven. Jesus makes us ‘saints’ (that just means “a God-loving person”) long before we become citizens of the Heavenly city. Securing our ‘ticket’ we are then called establish His Kingdom here on earth; first by loving Him and then be sharing that love with others.
I want to be one of those Christians who brings a little bit of Heaven down to earth, don’t you? I want people to sense the Presence of God in me, to catch a bit of the fragrance of Heaven when I pass by. And, as I walk in the Spirit, with a heart that is already at home in God’s house, with a mind that is filled with the wisdom of Heaven, that will happen.
Here’s a word from the Word for you today. Believe it and live – “… because of Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us from the beginning, and all things happen just as he decided long ago. God’s purpose was that we who were the first to trust in Christ should praise our glorious God. And now you also have heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us everything he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. This is just one more reason for us to praise our glorious God.” (Ephesians 1:11-14, NLT)
Are you trying to make Heaven on a ‘stand by’ basis? There is no need. Confirm your reservation for Heaven today, right now. It’s not about a feeling, an emotional experience, or settling every question you have about spiritual matters. The key is placing yourself – without any fear – in the hands of Jesus Christ. Nobody is ‘too far gone,’ is too bad, is without need. I’m headed Home with a reservation. Are you?
- Jesus! What a friend for sinners!
Jesus! Lover of my soul;
Friends may fail me, foes assail me,
He, my Savior, makes me whole.
Chorus: Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Hallelujah! What a friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving,
He is with me to the end.
- Jesus! What a strength in weakness!
Let me hide myself in Him.
Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing,
He, my strength, my victory wins.
- Jesus! What a help in sorrow!
While the billows o’er me roll,
Even when my heart is breaking,
He, my comfort, helps my soul.
- Jesus! I do now receive Him,
More than all in Him I find.
He hath granted me forgiveness,
I am His, and He is mine.
J. Wilbur Chapman Public Domain