By Paul L. McElroy
Believe it or not, not all who profess to follow the New Testament believe in an inheritance in heaven. The so-called "Jehovah’s Witnesses" believe in eternal life, but here on earth, with only 144,000 going to heaven. But the apostle Paul teaches that there is "One Hope of your calling," (Eph. 4:4), and the apostle Peter said, Christians have "...an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you." (I Pet. 1:4).
The inheritance in heaven is variously described as "eternal life (Rom. 2:7); crown of life (Jas. 1:12); crown of righteousnss (2 Tim. 4:8); imperishable crown (1 Cor. 9:25); and everlasting life (John 3:16).
Every thoughtful person can know that "eternal life" is far better than our present life. We all want to survive well beyond this life, with all of its heartaches and pains, and be able to go on to a life free of sorrow and death.
The apostle John tells us of such a place in Rev. 21:4– "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There will be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."
Some have been taught that when they were saved from their past sins, that they already had "eternal salvation". But, read Peter 1:4– "To an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you." Paul wrote in 2 Tim. 4:7-8--"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing." The parable of the sower teaches that men may be saved, but then fall away. (Luke 8:4-6, 11-15). You can fall from grace (Gal. 5:4). Jesus Christ . . . became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him." (Heb. 5:9).
If you want eternal salvation, you must Hear the gospel, Rom. 10:17; Believe the gospel Heb. 11:6; Repent of sins Luke 13:3; Publicly confess Christ, Matt. 10:32-33; Be baptized into Christ Acts 2:38, Rom. 6:3-5; Live faithfully Rev. 2:10.
- Paul L. McElroy preaches for the Columbia Church of Christ in Columbia, MS. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org