The last time we were at Izapa Bush and Game Lodge to stay over was in January this year. As you know, we love the bush. Because we need to be here for a wedding on Sunday, Hennie graciously allowed us to stay at the “manager’s cottage” for the weekend. So far we have seen Vlak Varkie, Kudu and Impala. Normally when we come to the bush, we are always late in leaving home, yet today was different. We managed to do everything necessary and arrived in the early afternoon. A friend gave me keys for the cottage a few years ago but today these keys would not work. I called him but the call went to voicemail–as did his wife’s phone. Almost immediately after these calls, the Game Vehicle came down from the Lodge. I hailed the driver and he came to the cottage. I asked him: “Did you change the locks of the door and the security gate.”
He said: “Yes.”
As soon as I said I can’t get into the cottage, he said, “Don’t worry, we have keys up at the Lodge.” Off he drove to secure the keys for me. Praise the Lord … in no time we had access into the cottage, could unpack and settle down to some relaxation. You cannot enter a locked house, cottage or apartment without having the correct keys. Naturally a burglar could break into the house, but normally when doors are locked you need the correct keys and remotes to access the premises.
Access means having the right key … as I pointed out, not having the right key means no access! Heaven also requires the right key to gain access. Many people react negatively when one tries to explain where they can find the keys to heaven. Sometime they get angry or just shut up or if they are bold enough they share their view about God or religion with you. Even though the following words were spoken to Peter, they apply to all believers:
Mt 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
Jesus gives us the keys of the Kingdom … it is the gospel message of His substitutional sacrificial death and substitutional resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. In Revelation, Jesus says:
Rev 1:18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
This verse helps us understand the verse in Matthew 16. He holds the gospel key. When people receive the gospel through faith they go to heaven. A positive, genuine commitment to Jesus means the gospel result in “bind on earth will be bound in heaven”. The opposite in true as well. When the gospel is rejected, the result is: “whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven”. Literally, when the gospel is presented or shared preached or one on one, and the hearer/hearers respond positively through faith, confession, repentance with Jesus enthroned as Lord, the new believer becomes regenerate, born again and part of God’s forever family.
It is always so sad for the believer (pastor, evangelist, missionary or other Christian) when they share the gospel and the message is rejected outright or the message just bounces back. Mostly a believer will be in prayer for gospel opportunities, asking God for wisdom and the correct words, expressions and illustrations coupled to the right attitude so that, as one speaks, it is God speaking through them. So when the gospel is spurned and refused and mocked … it hurts because we know what Jesus did to achieve salvation. But we need to remember that although He gives us the keys to the Kingdom the gospel message, ultimately He alone either unlocks the door to heaven or keeps it locked … because He knows the heart. He alone knows the sincerity and genuineness of the heart and as said, although the gospel is the key, Jesus alone knows who to unlock heaven’s door for.
In Luke 12 we read of Jesus speaking about not following wealth as a ‘god’. In verse 33 He adds: “Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.” Notice that in heaven no thief will gain access. To me this means that no one can enter heaven and steal a soul from glory nor can a thief enter and live in disguise as if they are the real deal. Heaven is reserved for those who are blood washed and have over time matured and ready to live within the holiness of God’s majestic glory. This is another encouraging comfort for us believers for we are told that:
Rev 21:4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
Rev 21:15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
Get that picture of glory fixed in your mind … no sin, no effects of sin, no death, no wicked people … heaven is reserved for God holy people!
To us the bush is so beautiful with its many shades of green in summer and many shades of brown in winter. Then there are all the animals and birds and quietness. Heaven will be far more beautiful.
God is there in all His Triuneness. Love, grace, mercy and kindness coupled to absolute holiness and righteousness flow unrestricted. Music, singing and perfect adoration are practiced daily by all the saints in glory. As the hymn of old went … “Heaven is a wonderful place, filled with glory and grace.” I hope you’re longing to be there!
Gracious Saviour, thank You for opening heaven’s door for me through Jesus’ blood sacrifice. Amen.