Who May Enter?

May 28, 2017

While we all want to go to heaven, there is this lingering question on who will actually enter heaven. Even King David himself, in his Psalm, asked, “Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?” (Psalm 15:1). There have been many speculations about who will enter heaven but the best way to approach this question is to go back to what King Davis listed as requirements for entering heaven. All these requirements have something to do with our relationship with God and with our fellowmen. It has nothing to do with our earthly achievements and wealth. The requirements are laid down from verse 2 to verse 5 of Psalm 15 (italicized and in parenthesis).

The first requirement is blamelessness (He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous). To have a blameless life is to have a good relationship with the Lord. Such a relationship is achieved by seeking him first. King David said, “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple” (Psalm 27:4). We should not only desire to have this relationship but pursue it with our actions. It is only then that we learn to live righteously and blamelessly. Our righteousness should not be based on ourselves. Rather, it should be based on God’s righteousness - the Lord Jesus Christ himself.

The next requirement is truthfulness (Who speaks the truth from his heart). We should not be an instrument of the devil to propagate lies and so destroy our brothers and our relationship with them. This is so important that this was imbedded in the Ten Commandments. King David then said that for one to enter heaven he should also control his tongue (Has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman). Even the apostle James warmed that the tongue cannot be tamed and is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. It can bring forth death or life and with it we use it to praise the Lord and curse men who were created in God’s likeness (James 3:8-9). We need to be good to our neighbours and not slander them. We have to have goodwill and not ill-will towards all that live trustfully beside us.

For us to enter heaven, we likewise need to hate the company of evildoers (Who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the Lord). If we do not set ourselves apart from the wicked, we can be swept together with them when the flood of dissipation comes. This is the reason the Psalmist said, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers” (Psalm 1:1). Certainly, we gain nothing out of their counsel for these develop from wicked hearts. Instead, we should befriend and honour those who fear the Lord. We are admonished in the Book of Proverbs to be with the wise so that we may grow even wiser.

Another requirement is to keep our vows or promises (who keeps his oath even when it hurts). We are often quick to make a vow when we want something from the Lord but the moment we receive it, we do not fulfil it. The warning: “Do not be quick with your mouth; do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few” (Eccl. 5:2). When making a vow, we need to follow the example of Jephthah who vowed to offer to the Lord, as a burnt offering, whoever would come out of his house to meet him after defeating his enemies. Though it hurt, he fulfilled his promise and offered to the Lord his only daughter as she was the first to come out of the house to meet him. 

Lastly, we need to be fair (who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent). To take advantage of the poor and needy is a sin against the Lord. They are in that position so that we can be a channel of blessings to them, not to profit out of their dire situation. We must remember that their defender is the Lord who commanded, “You shall not charge interest on loans to your brother, interest on money, interest on food, interest on anything that is lent for interest” (Deut. 23:19). Let us go by the principle of sowing and reaping. God will repay good for the good that we do to others.

King David concluded that if we are able to do all these things, we shall never be shaken. We shall be able to enter the kingdom of God. While these seem to be a tall order, we can do it through Christ who strengthens us and who said, “You must be born again.” Yes, Jesus said, “"I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again" (John 3:3). Praise the Lord!