What qualifies a person for heaven? Who gets in and who gets restricted?
We have learned from Jesus that the expectations and qualifications of the world are usually just the opposite of the expectations and qualifications of God.
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8–9, NLT)
The world says, follow your heart. But God says…
“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jeremiah 17:9, NLT)
The world says, “Believe in yourself”! But Jesus says…
… “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?”
(Luke 9:23–25, NLT)
As we continue to learn God’s ways and see the fault of our own ways Jesus continues to teach us the contrasts of life…
One day some parents brought their little children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But when the disciples saw this, they scolded the parents for bothering him. Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”
(Luke 18:15–17, NLT)
The way into God’s Kingdom is through the spiritual birth which comes simply by God’s grace through faith in Jesus. Through faith in Christ, we are born again, and become God’s spiritual children, and begin a new spiritual journey from there.
Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life.” (John 3:5–6, NLT)
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16–17, NLT)
Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,” (1 Peter 2:1–2, NKJV)