Who’s going to be in heaven?
I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb….
St. Peter asks Jerry, “So, what denomination were you?” Jerry says, “Methodist.” St. Peter looks down his list, and says, “Go down the street to the third mansion on the left. But please be very quiet when you pass the first mansion.”
Samantha arrives and passes through a gate of pearl. She is also met by St. Peter.
St. Peter asks her, “So, what denomination were you?” Samantha says, “Presbyterian.” St. Peter looks down his list, and says, “Go down the street to the fourth mansion on the right. But please be very quiet when you pass the first mansion.”
Charles then arrives and passes through a gate of pearl.
Once again, St. Peter meets him. He asks Charles, “So, what denomination were you?” Charles says, “Baptist.” St. Peter looks down his list, and says, “Go down the street to the fifth mansion on the left. But please be very quiet when you pass the first mansion.”
Charles asks, “I think I understand there being different mansions for different denominations, but why must I be quiet when I pass the first mansion?”
St. Peter tells him, “Well, the Lutherans are in that first mansion, and they think they’re the only ones here.”
This is an old joke that is told in different ways. But like most good humor, it has a tinge of truth to it.
I’m a fiercely loyal Lutheran and have been my whole life.
But I’m more loyal to Christ than to anything else. (A close second is my family, then my church, then my country, then my baseball team).
And being loyal to Christ I accept that the Bible is the inerrant and inspired Word of God. And in that Word of God it clearly states that the people who are going to be in heaven will not just be members of one denomination, or even culture, tribe or nation.
I think we’re all in for a very big surprise when we see who is in heaven.
You don’t go to heaven because you are Lutheran, or Baptist, or Methodist, or any other denomination.
You don’t go to heaven because you are American, or English, or Russian, or any other nationality.
You don’t go to heaven because you are white, black, or any other ethnicity.
There is only one way that anyone goes to heaven.
That they have faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
St. Paul clearly states that all have “sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified by his grace as a gift” (Romans 3:23-24).
St. John quotes Jesus just as clearly, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, emphasis added).
So why all the denominations? The way I look at it is that denominations are the “language” we use to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Like English people use English as their language, Russian people use Russian as their language.
So Lutherans use a language somewhat unique to them. Same with Baptists, Methodists and others.
That’s a simplistic view, but maybe it’ll do for this devotion.
Still, it is a great comfort to me that heaven will be filled with surprising people, because I think I’m going to surprise a lot of people myself!
Heavenly Father, thank you for saving me – and the world – for Jesus’ sake; in Jesus’ name. Amen.
© 2017 True Men Ministries