On the authority of God’s Word we can categorically say that Father Abraham, the father of the Jewish people, went to Heaven. No questions- no doubts- no purgatory- no discussion; Abraham sailed straight through the Pearly Gates and into glory with a first class reservation.
Now, if we are really switched on, the sixty million dollar question is- how did he do that? Many people would say that the answer is very simple; Abraham was just a great guy who, when it came to doing good works and law keeping, had all the right boxes ticked. Hence when it came to the Pearly Gates God could say ‘Ab, my friend, as you have scored high on merits and low on demerits, come on in and take a seat- far from the Fire!’
However, this is completely at odds with how the Bible describes Abraham’s relationship with God. The truth is that this dear man came from a pretty sordid background of idolatry (see Joshua 24.2). What is more even amazing is that after he encountered the true and living God Abraham had an awful tendency to make a mess of things. He was a very real man who did some pretty crazy things. I would have to confess that I am not the ‘model husband’ but in contrast to Ab’ I have never passed my wife off as my sister so that I could be enriched by the man who pounced on her......
When all is said and done, Abraham’s track record wasn’t so impressive. In fact if ‘merit’ and ‘right living’ was what took a man to Heaven, then this dear ‘saint’ would have been destined for a hot climate.
Soooooo how did he get to Heaven??!! The awesome answer is as simple as it is shocking. The Bible says ‘Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness’. ‘You gotta be kidding, nothing can be that simple- right??!!’ Wrong! Abraham knew that as far as making it with God was concerned he didn’t have a hope, not even ‘a prayer’, as we say. So what he did was to rely on God’s promise- this is what the Bible calls faith. Faith is lifting up empty hands to God who has promised that all who come to Him (like Abraham), confess their total unworthiness and rely solely on NOT their own merit/right living but on the merit/right living of Jesus will be taken directly to heaven on the first class ticket that Christ bought by his perfect right living (what the Bible calls ‘righteousness’).
The truth is that righteousness is required for Heaven. The question is- will you lean on your own righteousness for entry or take up God’s free (but costly- Jesus died on the Cross to achieve this) offer of having Jesus’ perfect righteousness given to you as a free gift?
The good news is that Abraham was a sinner who was saved, despite himself, because he leaned fully on God’s promise of salvation in Christ.
The Great News is that this promise of Heaven still stands for all who claim it. Fancy a first class reservation to a first class seat in Glory bought and paid for by Jesus? Then what are you waiting for- call upon Jesus right now!