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No Ticket to Heaven

Being born again is no guarantee that you’ll go to heaven. If it were a guarantee, those of us who are born again would become unbearably haughty and proud – just like Satan and his gang, and we know where they’re going to end up. Being born-again doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to heaven, but it does guarantee that, as long as you heed God’s spirit, you’ll have all the help you’ll need to get there.

Paul tells us to run the race to win; he doesn’t say you’ve already won it just because you’ve made it to the track. In scripture, God reveals how a righteous man, having changed his ways and done wrong, can lose his reward, and how an unrighteous man, having changed his ways and done right, can be rewarded. The formerly righteous man isn’t righteous simply on the aggregate of his doings, nor is the formerly unrighteous man judged unrighteous on the aggregate of his. Rather, what matters is where they are at the end of their lives.

Good examples of this are Jesus promising the repentant thief that he’ll be in Paradise with him (an instance of an unrighteous man turned righteous) and Jesus advising his betrayer (not yet openly revealed as Judas Iscariot) that it were better for him had he not been born (an instance of a righteous man turned unrighteous). In any case, any effort we make on our own without God’s advice and without letting God work through us is just a waste of time. Only through divine guidance and intervention can we ever hope to accomplish what we need to accomplish. Our job is entrust ourselves completely into God’s hands and do what he advises us to do.

Many people mistakenly equate being born again with being saved. No-one but God knows who ultimately will be saved and who will not be saved; otherwise, what would be the point of Judgment Day?

Judgment is God’s job, not ours.

Think of how arrogant and sinful we would become if going to heaven were a guarantee simply by virtue of spiritual rebirth! Being born-again is analogous to the exodus out of Egypt — more than a million Hebrews went into the wilderness, but only two of the original pilgrims who were over the age of 20 when they left Egypt ultimately entered into the Promised Land. God’s standards are the highest (after all, it’s paradise we’re talking about here). God knows we’ll make mistakes, but he’s quick to forgive us if we sincerely repent and choose to forgive those who’ve hurt us.

“I require mercy, not sacrifice.”

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