The very word ‘making’ heaven suggests a scaling through, a narrow escape or ‘victory at last’ sort of endeavor. Despite the notoriety associated with this expression amidst believers, it is a non-scriptural phraseology and as such is subject to personal or private interpretation. If it were to be a verse in the bible, we would only need do proper its exegesis, giving it contextual explanation and examining the intent of the writer. However, it is not all non-scriptural phrases that are unscriptural; we will thus examine the connotative meaning of this expression to its speakers and correlate it with scriptures if there be a corresponding scriptural truth.
Often we hear preachers exhorting brethren say, ‘will you make heaven?’, ‘if the Lord Jesus comes now or death happens, are you sure you will make heaven?’, ‘only the Lord knows how many of us will make heaven’. Some go further to scare brethren with the coming of the Lord saying things like, ‘brethren, this is the time of grace, when the Lord Jesus comes, mercy will be withdrawn, it is judgment!’. Yet some would go further in their imaginations, claiming some heaven and hell encounters or judgment day sighting in which a minute fraction of believers eventually made it! All these and similar expressions either have their root in a faulty understanding of a scriptural text, sheer ignorance or demonic deception. The most important clause being that they are addressing believers in Christ.
THE CONNOTATIVE MEANING
Those who use such expressions mean that a great judgment day is coming in which a man’s fate of going to heaven or hell will be determined by how pleasing his works are before God. Some insinuate this uncertainty of fate applies to believers only as every unbeliever will not make heaven. This understanding birthed the belief that the last action before death, whether holy or sinful, determines a man’s (believer’s) fate, heaven or hell. It is believed that confession of sins and asking for forgiveness would have obliterated the previously perpetrated unholy acts. Failure to do that for any sins before death will ensure the landing of such a believer in hell. Yet, some expects that the fickleness of God’s mercy might eventually save that believer (they see as sinner).
This admittedly is a confluence of erroneous understanding that cannot be effectively sorted out in a piece of writing like this. Those errors defect from basic understandings of the Christian faith fundamentals like The New Covenant, Salvation, Righteousness, Redemption and Eternal Life among others; pulling them out string by string will be a treatise. I will therefore simply state the truth against which those understanding can be gauged. Most of these misunderstandings are from the misinterpretations of the words of the Lord Jesus in the gospels and the contents of the book of Revelation, also a basic disregard for the superior provisions of The New Testament in relation to that of The Old.
LOCATING THE LOT OF THE MAN IN CHRIST IN SCRIPTURES
It is important to note that in addressing believers, the epistles are the doctrinal materials written to believers in Christ, the Old Testament materials were inspired historical and prophetic writings for our learning and to witness of Christ, they are NOT written TO us. [John5:39; Rom15:4; 1Cor10:11]. The New Testament calls the first testament old, and that it has vanished away, so its provisions do not apply to us believers in Christ. The New Testament began not just in the four gospels, but AFTER the death and resurrection of Jesus [Heb9:16-17].
The gospels were written for unbelievers to believe in Christ, they were not written to believers [John20:31]. The book of Revelation is prophetic and uses a lot of symbolism that would need be rightly interpreted while maintaining consistency with other books of the bible [2Cor13:1]. The epistles were written TO believers in Christ expounding unto them what their faith holds for them. Jesus spoke earlier that the Spirit that will come after his resurrection will guide believers into all truth [John16:12-13]. This, the Spirit expressly accomplished in revealing to the apostles and was communicated to the churches of God, as the epistles [Eph3:4-5; Col1:26].
The epistles especially those of Apostle Paul use great plainness in communicating these truths such that we will need help to misunderstand it, or be incurably insincere[2Cor3:12; 2Pet3:16]. The scriptures being one in purpose and message with no contradictions, we can safely start from the unambiguous plain texts to gain proper interpretation and understanding of the less simplistic texts. For a believer to know his state therefore, he should start to look from nowhere else but the letters written to him as a believer – the epistles.
I CALL YOU BLESSED!
Written By Agboola Samuel
I must first appreciate Dr. Moses Fagbemi of Source Institute Sokoto State, Nigeria, who first opened my understanding to this topic. This topic explains God’s view of His own word, what value does God place on His word? How serious does God take His promises made directly to me or made in the scriptures?
A deep understanding of this topic will help us build faith and trust in Him irrespective of whatever circumstance we face because God is faithful. I pray God open the eyes of our understanding as we read.
…”For thou magnified thy word above all thy name” (Ps 138:2b)
Sometimes, I personally find it a bit difficult to take some steps even when I am quite sure God is leading me to do them, this is because such steps often involve a lot of risk and I might be losing a lot to take such steps. I often ask, does God really mean what He told me to do. In other times, it the case of “delayed” answers to request, I mean to say those period of waiting, and we ask “would God really keep His word?” and in other times it is the case of us asking for directions and God speaks to us (He gives us His word) and we are still not sure, we want some more physical proofs, like using “flees” like Gideon did or for some other mystical or some other supernatural signs to support God’s word to us. And often times God be praised, He doesn’t give us those signs though He can.
God’s word is God Himself. We can’t actually separate God from His word. It’s a mystery. This He demonstrated to us when he gave us marriage, how two people physically are actually one. So If God speaks to us, and as I will say “He gives us His word”, He has actually “given us Himself”, so when we ask for more after we have received that, there is nothing left for God to give us, since He has given us himself, the greatest thing in the universe.
Some people think God forgets or jokes about His word. But No! He doesn’t. He takes it more serious than we think. He made a promise to Abraham and even many years after Abraham had long died he was still keeping that covenant with Abraham’s descendant, Israel and he still keeps that promise till today. Notice the use of the word “forever” in the verses below.
“He remembers His Covenant Forever, the promise He made, for a thousand generations” (Psalms 105:8) NIV
“He is (earnestly) mindful of His Covenant and forever it is imprinted on His heart, the word which He commanded and established to a thousand generations” (Psalms 105:8) AMP
He made the same promise to David, and till today we still enjoy the “sure mercies of David”. God never forgets his word.
We must also note that when God asks us to keep (obey) His word, He isn’t a tyrant. He is only asking us to keep (obey) what He himself keeps (obeys). God’s word is God’s “food” or “nutrition” to be like God. He needs to keep His word. His nature his faithfulness, and we also to be like God, we must also learn to be faithful. So In our journey and desire to be like Him, we must also learn to “eat” and nourish ourselves with what He himself nourishes himself with. We must learn to keep His word, to be like Him.
God’s word is not impotent. Whatever God’s word cannot do, God himself cannot do. So when we speak God’s word we must speak with this understanding, that we have in our hands what is able to do anything. So the next time you command that “a friend be healed in Jesus name” or “a blind eye be opened” or “a lame person walk” say it with the authority of God’s word according to the scriptures, and you will see they will be done. In fact, the Bible records that God works when His word works. The universe came into being by God speaking His word.
“By the Seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work” (Gen 2:2) NIV
We will grow and do exploits if we learn to believe strongly (stake our all) on every verse of the scriptures because it is God’s word. We simply say “if it is written” then “God means what He said here” and I am just going to go and do what He says, and believe me with that we have all of heaven’s support.
God’s Reality is in His word. God is only available to us except through the channel of His word. We have no hold on God except via His word. God is so real, but only real via His word. The only hold we have on God is His word.God’s word is God’s Own Life. The only access we have to God is His word. The Safety and Integrity of God depends on His word. Outside of His word, God has no means and no power to perform anything for us except via His word.
“The estimate I have for God’s word, determines the estimate life (things or issues) have for me. Your (God’s) Word Measure determines Your Life Outcome” (Dr. Moses Fagbemi)
“Thus Saith the Lord, the Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? And where is the place of my rest?
For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at my word. (Isaiah 66: 1 -2)”
I CALL YOU BLESSED!
“…But the people that do know their GOD shall be strong, and do exploits. (Daniel 11:32)”
Yes, you attend church services regularly, you sing powerfully well in the choir, ushering members to their seats delights you, doing the works of God gives you joy… what a privilege to be used in the house of God.
Listening to good teaching is wonderful and applying all of it into our daily lives is really life transforming. We do as our Pastor tells us, seriously we follow all their instructions. All of these are wonderful.
Really… Do we actually get to know GOD by all of that? Well for me, I will say NO. Those are supposed to be a product of our knowledge of God, and our quest to know Him More. The Pastors do their best, but they can\’t know GOD for us, they can only give to us what they get from GOD in their place of fellowship with Him (their intimacy with Him).
Jess, a 24 year old lady felt indisposed and decided to go to the hospital, she was diagnosed of malaria. The Doctor prescribed some anti-malaria drugs for her, after taking them Jess got better, more energetic, strong n fit to continue her daily routine. She was so happy that she went back to thank the
Doctor Jane her twin sister also fell ill, she then remembered her sister Jess who was once ill, took some anti malaria drugs and got better. She decided to take the same drugs since it made Jess get better. Unfortunately for Jane, her state of health grew worse as she was not getting any better, despite the facts that she was on drugs. “Anti-malaria”
What could the problem be? Worth pondering on… Jess met with the Doctor.
Jane met with Jess prescription from the Doctor. (Yea, it worked for Jess but it seemed not to work for Jane. The right thing for Jane to do was to have met with the doctor, and then if the doctor prescribed the same drugs for Jane, that would have been fine.)
Do you live a life like Jane, do you bank solely on what your Pastor, Mentor, Discipler, Bishop, Prophets or even your Parents tells you? If your answer is in the affirmative, then you need an attitude adjustment.
Don’t get me wrong God has kept them and given them to us to guide us in the way of the Lord and not to take the place of God in our lives. Let’s build a relationship with the Doctor personally, let’s know God for ourselves.
Paul had this to say…
“…Nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day”.
The depth of conviction for our faith comes from a personal knowing of him. Our Persuasion, with which we can die for comes from the word that God has ministered to our spirit. Although, this words may come through other men but they must have spoken to us directly, such that they becomes stamped upon our spirits.
Know your God and do exploit, for the World earnestly awaits your manifestation.
Written by Helen Olasomisoye
This article is considered by me, one of the few articles I have been prompted to write, and that God has continuously kept repeating to me my-self over and over again. I have been learning and am presently learning how to drive this message into my sub-conscious. All through-out the journey of life, we will arrive at points when it all seems not-working, when frustration sets-in and our soul seems weary. Whilst all this points towards the fact that this world isn’t our destination (place of rest), yet there is one thing, I believe God keeps saying to us and it is “Am Supplying You GRACE”. And truly He is. Indeed He is! I wish I can scream that loud at the top of my voice with all seriousness written over and across my face, because I believe that is the same thing God is also trying to say to US. He is Supplying Us Grace. For in our Knowing this lies our strength to overcome every of our challenges. As you read, May the Holy-spirit communicate this message to you also.
“And He said unto me, My Grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness… (2 Cor. 12:9)”
Man is frail, Man is weak. We don’t have a power of our own and we don’t even have the wisdom to solve many life puzzles. Many times, failure, Sorrows, engulf our hearts, we are confused looking in every direction and asking “Where is God”. Economic Crisis here and there, Health issues, Poverty, No Jobs, and for many for students, academics are sometimes nightmares. The psalmist considered man, and couldn’t make anything of him that he asked “what is man?”
We are faced every now and then with challenges and obstacles, we ask questions not knowing direction, most times we are confused because we have used all our strength and seems things are not working, it seems life is not just fair some times. Now all this shows and proves our in-ability, it shows our need of help. Our need to rely on an outer supply of help. And not just help, timely and constant help.
It is obvious that a fellow man cannot just fill the void for another man’s lack or failure because an empty barrel can’t fill another empty barrel. God is the perfect fill of all the lack we may ever expect. The most interesting part of this is that, God is far more ready to supply this “missing part” (grace) to us than we ever need or than we ever request. Every day he turns out loads of grace to us such that every day becomes “grace-day” for us.
“Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation” (Ps. 68:19).
Benefits in the above verse stands for addition, extra, grace, favour etc. and in any area of life we may need it. Now, before we activate this grace in our lives, we must come to acknowledge that God is supplying us this grace. In your academics, you need to acknowledge God is supplying grace for you, to be the best in class, acknowledge it and you see it (Believing is seeing). In your finances acknowledge that God is supplying you grace never to lack, in your relationship, always acknowledge that God is supplying you grace to be the best partner you can be.
As long as we keep acknowledging the availability of this grace, we will keep seeing this grace at work and we will keep seeing God making all things working out for our good. The Key to making exploits by believers is recognizing their weakness and always being conscious of God’s supply of grace per time. Being conscious of this grace helps put this grace to work. It is possible God supplies us grace and we don’t put it to use. Just like it is possible, someone has money in his pocket, and he is starving because he thinks he doesn’t know he has money to buy food.
One way to keep being Conscious of this to keep confessing this. Keep saying it. When problems stare at you. Tell the problem “I have grace”. While you are at school, work say it “I have grace”. Keep saying it “there is grace” or say “God is supplying me grace”. When it seems you are confused or confounded say it again “I have grace”. Your body or mind may not feel like saying it, it may seem hard to say but say it “I have grace” “God is supplying me grace”. Keep confessing it and you will see it.
“You only have I known of all the families of the earth: … (Amos 3:2)”
God’s direction of grace to you alone is as though you are the only one on earth. Like though He doesn’t have any-other thing to do except to supply you grace. It is as though you are the only child He has. His focus is on you and you and you alone as though you are the only student in that class, like as though you are the only person that needs help financially, like you are the only married man, like you are the only person seeking admission or looking for a Job. He keeps supplying YOU grace. Heaven’s attention is on you.
“I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you (John 14:18)”
Sometimes it’s easy, to read the bible, and accuse the children of Israel for not trusting God at some specific times of their journey, but we don’t really look at our-selves and notice we aren’t doing so too. Paul cried out to God to remove an infirmity from Him, and all God could say was “Am supplying you grace”. Many times we cry to God, and what God is saying to us also is “Am supplying you Grace”. We need to trust Him, for by trusting Him, can we enjoy His grace and come into His rest.
But Remember, to put this grace to effect we need to acknowledge it. Keep acknowledging this grace daily and see yourself live a victorious life.
I call you blessed.
Written by Afolabi Samson