The bible is clear that it is “by grace we have been saved through faith.” So, clearly faith alone saves us so we qualify for heaven, period.
So, is it a valid question to ask, ‘if all believers enter heaven?’ I have never really questioned that until yesterday when the Holy Spirit showed something deeper on God’s heart from Matthew chapter 25.
And we do well to pay attention as it would be a rude shock to be like a man who thinks he is on a plane bound for Sydney when in fact it is bound for Melbourne. In other words, how can we make our entrance to heaven a certainty?
Not all the virgins entered heaven
Matthew chapter 25, three parables speak of what Christ meant to be ready for his second coming. These all follow decisively after Matthew chapter 24 where Jesus says the end times will become increasingly tumultuous and exhorts all believers to endure in faith and be ready for his second coming.
In the parable of the ten virgins, all believed in God, and all were waiting for the bride groom and entry into heaven. However, five were described as wise and five foolish.
The wise ones paid the price for fresh oil to keep their lamps burning in readiness for the groom. The foolish ones sought to rely on others who purchased their own oil.
The door was shut on the ones who did not get oil and they cried out “Lord, Lord, open the door for us.” Jesus replied “I don’t know you”. Surely, they had some faith to call out “Lord, let us in”, but what was lacking in their faith that prevented them from entering heaven?
Not all the servants entrusted talents entered heaven
Again, the parable of the talents in Matthew chapter 25, verses 14 to 30 show in contrast to the two servants who invested their talents, that one of the servants, entrusted with a talent chose to bury it. He had faith to receive a talent, but what was lacking in his faith that saw him thrown into darkness, clearly not entering heaven like the others?
Not all the sheep remained sheep and entered heaven
In the final parable of Matthew chapter 25, Jesus separates sheep and goats. Some understood compassion and social justice while others did not.
Again. what was lacking in the faith of those who were called goats and were told to “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels,” clearly not entering heaven.
What was lacking in their faith in each case?
We learn from the virgins that we are to get fresh oil as believers. Oil speaks of the Holy Spirit and God’s anointing. It is an active faith!
For example, in Acts 2 the believers were filled with the spirit and shone brightly and once again they were filled in Acts 4. There were fresh phases and seasons of ministry requiring a fresh anointing and empowering. We need to always be seeking God and know our season. As we trim our wicks and repent of sin we also grow with fresh encounters of the spirit and are known of God.
The talent bearers were required to be using their talents for Jesus. The man who buried his talent didn’t trust that God was good, choosing to believe a lie, and instead became lazy and indulgent, justifying his inactivity.
Jesus promises to him who has he shall be given more. Is our faith growing? Are we growing? Is our industry multiplying; Jesus promises a harvest of 30, 60 and 100- fold. Are we believing for 100-fold?
Finally, all the sheep did good unto others while the goats were self-centred and selfish. All forms of social justice and compassion on others must come from faith in Christ. When we do it unto the least, we do it unto Christ. In other words, it’s not about good works and just ‘giving back to community’ per se.
Christ will return in glory to judge all mankind
Interestingly, both sheep and goats were unaware of the significance of blessing the least. I felt God inspire me to write this article because he wants to awaken us to a living, dynamic faith with grit.
Only this kind of faith secures entry to heaven to be with God for eternity, and it is a faith that is oriented to bless others, as unto Christ. So, indeed all are saved by faith. However, it is not just a mental assent kind of faith but comes from the heart with vigour, from a response to God’s grace in repentance. It is the vibrant ‘amazing grace’ kind of faith, we must aspire to, that we see in the old hymn.
What must I do Lord?
God recently told me to bless a person in a least-mode season in their life. This person I don’t know very well, though I can see they have made some errors of judgement that have proven to be very costly, but I know deep down they love God.
I am looking forward to sending some money and a painting to encourage them.
Jesus said for us all, “When you did it unto the least of these, you did it unto me.”
Paul said, “What must I do Lord?”
Who is God speaking to you about?
Great rewards await us on the day of Christ’s return as we avail ourselves to God’s calling and continue to walk by faith.
Mark Rusic was born in Melbourne and has a bachelor in Mechanical engineering. He became a missionary to many suffering hardship and poverty on Madura Island in Indonesia, for about 4 years, from 1990. He has worked as a pastor-life coach over the past 17 years in Hope International Ministries. Mark is also an artist and author and has also written two books which are a collection of his own paintings, photography and poetry. These include ‘Iconic Melbourne of Australia’ and ‘Iconic Animals of Australia with a voice to release your giant potential within.’ He has been counted among some of Australia’s best-selling authors since 2014 and is a public speaker in various community groups, organisations and churches. He has a special grace to help people find and release why they were born. See iconiccolours.com for more information about Mark’s services.