How do I get to heaven? Wow! This question is asked a lot today. Maybe not in the way its written here, but whether you are religious or not, this question always seems to be on our minds. What happens after death? Will I go to heaven? What do I need to do to get there? There are all kinds of religions and beliefs that teach different ways to get to heaven, but how do we know which teaching to follow? Your not the only one who’s looking for answers, Luke 18:18-23 tells us about a wealthy ruler, who sought the answer to one of life’s greatest questions.
“And a ruler asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’”
Jesus then challenges his question with a question of his own and responds by reciting the last five of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20. Why does Jesus do that? It seems like he’s just quoting a bunch of Old Testament laws. But Jesus was going much more deeper with his point. When we divide up the Ten Commandments, we see that the first five commandments are about loving God, but the last five, are about loving people. Jesus was saying that following God isn’t just about following laws, its about relationship.
“And he said, ‘All these I have kept from my youth.’
We’ve heard this one before. Some of us are even victims of this. We say things like “I go to church” or “I’m a good person.” Some of us have even memorized scriptures and could tell bible stories backwards, blindfolded, with our hands tied behind our backs. Just like the ruler, many of us grew up with some type of religious background or experience that involved learning some kind of teaching that we had to follow “religiously.” But Jesus challenges that way of thinking, and we see that with the young ruler.
“When Jesus heard this, he said to him, ‘One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’ But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.”
You see, the rich young ruler grew up hearing these commandments his whole life, but missed the point. It’s not about just following rules, its about relationship. God is calling everyone of us into a relationship with Him through his son Jesus but it involves allowing him to change our lives. The ruler had the choice to allow God to change his life and follow Jesus, but he was so caught up in the things of this world, that he failed to see the truth. He wasn’t willing to give up the very thing that was holding him back from following God. That’s why counting the cost is so important. What are you willing to give up?
Are you willing to allow God to change your life? How much is Jesus worth it to you? Like the rich young ruler, many of us have desires that come in-between our relationship with God. Heaven’s not about following a teaching, its about believing in a person, Jesus Christ.