Imagine religious leaders who “shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces” (Matthew 23:13). Jesus said to them, “You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. ….You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are” (Matthew 23:14-15). Jesus also said, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you” (Matthew 21:31).
Identifying the citizens of heaven might require movement beyond cliches about those who “accept Jesus into their hearts.” Such cliches often conceal a truth that Jesus revealed.
The truth Jesus emphasized is…
Only the humble will be in heaven. I’m not sure how one could read the teaching of Jesus and reach any other conclusion. Heaven will be filled with humble people. Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3). The proud of heart will be excluded but the broken and contrite, God will not despise.
This should make those who strive to be religious more than a little nervous. It should warn those who are working their way “up” the structured ranks of orthodox Christianity to pause (as the apostle Paul did) over a ledger of gains and losses in Christ (Philippians 3:3-9).
How often did Jesus emphasize this truth?
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