It Is Not About Going to Heaven

Cross & Crown

Not only is Easter not about the Easter bunny, colored eggs, jellybeans or chocolate, but Easter is also not about having our sins forgiven so we can go to heaven. It’s not about us. It’s about reconciliation. It is not about religion. It’s about a relationship.

In an attempt to evangelize and convince people to become a Christian, some Christians have been taught to use the tactic that asks a non-Christian, “If you died today, would you go to heaven?” as if that is the goal and the Gospel itself. I understand that people are generally more interested in getting to heaven than in having a relationship with a God they don’t know or of Whom they have a skewed perception. Most people are at least vaguely aware of the concept of heaven and hell, and most would like to avoid hell if at all possible.

But even paradise isn’t really paradise without someone to share it with.

I understand why some Christians use the tactic to gain an audience, but I have also heard from people who have been offended by Christians who tell them if they don’t accept Christ, they are going to hell. Yeah, like that wins them over. I could be wrong, but I don’t remember Jesus ever doing that, and if we are supposedly following Him as His disciples, aren’t we supposed to be following in His footsteps? Sure Jesus talked more about hell than He did about heaven, but He was full of grace and love when dealing with those He was trying to reach.

One of the things Jesus said to the disciples in the upper room, during the Last Supper before His crucifixion, was meant to give comfort and hope. Although it was about heaven, it was more than that. He said:

“’Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.’” —John 14:1-3

Jesus didn’t die on the cross for our sins so we could go to heaven.

He died so that we can be reconciled to God.

He died to break the curse of sin and separation.

He died so that we can be adopted as sons and daughters and

live forever

with Him.

D.A. Carson said:

“We go to heaven, not to be saved, but to see Jesus’ glory, because God has determined, because of His love for His Son from before the foundation of the world, that His Son’s glory would be displayed. Now, I know that’s bound up with our salvation… but unless you see that this is not simply so that we will be saved, but so that we will see Jesus’ glory, then even heaven itself becomes slightly domesticated by some assumptions that we are at the center of everything, when it’s Jesus who is at the center of everything.”

When we try to convince someone that Jesus is the way to get to heaven and make heaven the focus over a restored relationship with the God who loves us, we do a disservice.

It is not about going to heaven. It is about getting to spend an eternity with the One who is love.

 

If you liked this, you might also like… Happy Resurrection Day!

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About Rene Yoshi

Just a transplanted Okinawan-French Southern girl with a wee bit o' Irish, sharing photography and what I'm learning about spiritual things, including putting off legalism and religious traditions, and embracing God's matchless love, tender mercy, and amazing grace! View all posts by Rene Yoshi

13 responses to “It Is Not About Going to Heaven

  • Scott

    The Lord Jesus died to pay the horrific penalty for sin; He rose from the dead (bodily, not a ghost) 3 days later. So many folks skim over the facts because we are soooo familiar (like the Spirit can’t teach us anything new, right?) with the story. But consider: Jesus’ resurrection on Sunday was proof His Sacrifice was accepted by a Holy God. And because of that acceptance, a Holy God is now free (because the price is paid) to declare us RIGHTEOUS (not like we never sinned, but because sin’s penalty was paid) forever! (That’s Romans 4:25). Oh what a Matchless Savior and such a Gracious, Merciful God!

  • Randell Bell

    So true Rene. Many believers are focused on the wrong message; going to heaven after they die, and not enjoying the blessing here on earth of having a personal relationship with God now. By focusing on a tangible place to be, we lose a precious gift to enjoy where we are. The Bible states two things; one we are already seated in the heavenlies with Christ, and second heaven will come down to rest on earth. Heaven is not where we need to look to, but to our God who lives there, and now resides in our own hearts. You would think if He is that close to us we would strive to know Him better.

    Eph.2: 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
    5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
    6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
    7 That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

    Rev.21: 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
    2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
    3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

    • Rene Yoshi

      I am so glad you brought up the tendency that can happen, if we put too much focus on our future hope in heaven, of missing the present blessings that having a close relationship with Christ brings now. That reminds me of a recent incident in which a toddler girl asked during a Bible class, “Why doesn’t God talk to us now?” Although God does not often communicate with us audibly, (He often didn’t even before the close of the Canon), to put Him in a box and say He won’t is really sad. Not that she was given that answer. She was told we would have to talk about it later. The trouble is we are sometimes also taught He doesn’t communicate with us except through His Word. Well, I am certain He has communicated with me through dreams and the still small voice of the Spirit, and I believe He has done so with others as well.

      Thank you, Randell. 🙂

  • Ralph

    Happy Easter Rene my friend ❤

  • g.

    Hi Sweets,
    Great and insightful post, as always. I think that people, (preachers especially) use that line about what would happen to you if you were to die today, because it is true… as far as where a person would go without salvation. I have never thought that it is effective to try to ‘scare’ people into heaven, although one pastor once told me: ‘whatever works’, or something to that effect. Truthfully, I don’t think that works well at all. If our salvation isn’t for the purpose of gaining a right relationship with God, then I doubt we would seek salvation, sincerely, in the first place.
    Thanks for this post.
    g.

    • Rene Yoshi

      Thank you, g. I agree, scaring people into heaven may motivate them to make a decision, thus seeming “to work”, but if we get someone to commit to something they themselves, not only do not understand but do not really believe, it won’t last. How many people do you know who have “asked Jesus into their hearts”, believe they are going to heaven because they said a prayer, and seem to have no interest in a relationship with God?

      Reminds me of a quote:

      “The Bible teaches that guilt, shame and condemnation are inferior substitutes for grace. They are an inferior form of motivation, but they are a form of motivation, make no mistake. That’s why so many preachers turn to them. That’s why so many Christians turn to shame. They get an instant response when you shame someone. The only problem is it kills joy, and it’s not sustainable….not only does it steal our joy, it steals God’s glory.” —Peter Haas

  • Nancy

    Beautifully said. “He was full of grace and love when dealing with those He was trying to reach.” That quote makes me think about my actions and reactions to my children and husband. Are they full of grace and love? Am I acting like Jesus? Thanks for the reminder.

  • gjoelfranco

    I really enjoyed your post…your take on the whole thing is very profound, and I am almost feel a lot of people are scared of that…it is easier to think of it as good/heaven – bad/hell…black/white…from your posts it would put more on people, and is unsettling for a lot of people. Thank you for the post!

    • Rene Yoshi

      Yes, it is easier for people to think of it as good/heaven – bad/hell, if the understanding is that good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell. Most of us like to think of ourselves as good enough, or at least not as bad as others. That we can be reconciled to God because of what Jesus did and not because of what we do is what makes Christianity different. Other religions leave people wondering if they have done enough good things to earn favor or gain entry into Paradise, while Jesus gives us hope and assurance. Thank you, gjoelfranco. 🙂

  • It’s Not About Religion, But It’s Not Just About a Relationship Either | Sweet Rains

    […] I said it in It’s Not About Going to Heaven, I also mentioned that Jesus’ dying on the cross was about reconciliation and getting to spend an […]

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