Let me share a parable to illustrate my thoughts about the way to heaven. Picture in your mind’s eye a long staircase – at the top is the gate of heaven, at the bottom is the entrance to hell. Then, consider the ‘Fall of Man’ as recorded in Genesis 3. The result:
- “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.” (Romans 5:12)
- “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!” (Romans 5:17)
Because of man’s inherited ‘fallen nature’, we are born on a staircase halfway between heaven and hell. Our bent to sin draws us downward. However, if we are willing to receive God’s provision of grace and righteous, we can change our direction from downward descent to upward ascent. The turn around is referred to as being ‘born again’.
This experience does not move us automatically to the top of the staircase. It turns us around on the step where we stand, but with a new direction. It is then an upward climb of obedience and faith. Since we started a long way down, we have a long climb ahead. Johnson Oatman’s wonderful hymn, “Higher Ground”, expresses my thoughts beautifully:
I’m pressing on the upward way,
New heights I’m gaining every day;
Still praying as I’m onward bound,
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.
My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Though some may dwell where those abound,
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.
I want to live above the world,
Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled;
For faith has caught the joyful sound,
The song of saints on higher ground.
I want to scale the utmost height
And catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still I’ll pray till Heav’n I’ve found,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”
~ Brother Roy