Heaven Cannot be Taken

Submitted by FatherAthanasios on Mon, 08/23/2021 - 09:07

As Christians, we live our life under the false impression that we are somehow earning our way into heaven. If we are obedient to the commandments of Christ, then He will be somehow obligated to grant us a place in heaven. If we do and say the correct things, then God would be disingenuous to keep us out of heaven, and yet each day we awake determined to get ourselves into heaven.

Then, there is the other extreme. There are those who think they have absolutely no role to play in their entrance into heaven. They just sit back in their comfortable myth that God has everything under control, and that God will provide. They (maybe you?) live with the false concept that God is in control and will place people in your path, put you where you should be, and make it all happen, as if we are mere pieces on a grand board game. Yet, there are those who are just waiting to be brought into heaven.

In today’s Epistle reading found below, we are reminded of what Christ accomplished when He was on Earth. It is important to recall how Christ taught and lived, as we are called to imitate Him. As St Paul said, “equality with God” was not a thing to be grasped. When we were baptized and Chrismated as members of His Orthodox Church, we were indeed united to God, but that was just the beginning. Our new life (thus are slogan at Be Transfigured) is one that presumes that Christ is with us in every moment. But, just as Christ humbled Himself and was obedient to the Father, so we should be humble and obedient.

Brethren, have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians -2-5.11

There is nothing we can ‘do’ to take heaven for ourselves. Neither should we just ‘sit back’ and wait for God to open the gates for us. We are expected by God to live ‘as if’ we are already united to Christ, because we are. Union with God is a gift from God, granted through the Holy Sacraments of His Church. Heaven is wanting to be united with Him, while hell is not wanting to be united with Him even though we are.

You could say it is a ‘two-step’ process. The first step is to accept the gift of unity from God. The second step is to cherish the gift and live a life devoted to the gift. A gift cannot be taken, but it can also be unwanted. In the case of God, He gives us the gift of heaven. It is up to us to want it.

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.