"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ."
- Philippians 1:6
"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."
- Philippians 2:12
"Therefore I run in such a way and not without pain; I box in such a way as not beating the air; (:27) but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified." -
I Corinthians 9:26-27
So although God is the one who gets credit for doing the wonderful work in us, our efforts are needed as well. We all know the term: God cannot steer a parked car. Notice how much effort Paul puts out to please God and subject himself to God's work.
HOW MANY PEOPLE DO YOU KNOW ARE AS DEDICATED TO GOD AS PAUL? If this is the level of commitment that it takes to get to heaven, how close are we to getting there? If it doesn't take that level of commitment to get to heaven, why would he go through what he is going through? I don't need to ask how many people are that devoted, because we know the answer is hardly anyone. Paul is obviously under the impression that getting to heaven is no easy task. How many of us might be taking this subject a little too lightly in our own lives?
Here is another question:
At some point someone has to ask: if Christianity takes up about 42% of the world, what happens to everybody else? We all believe in a loving God with a loving plan, but we don't hear too many people talk directly to the issue of what happens to everybody who is not a Christian? Is it as easy to get to heaven as we think? Are we to believe that, at best, 42% of the world goes to heaven while 58% of the world is punished for not believing in the right religion? Is this what God would have planned in advance?
I think it might be time to rethink the opinion of "everyone who shows up on Sunday to fill a pew is heading north when they die", and also "if you do not believe in Jesus now, you're doomed." There must be more than this.
For additional thoughts, please examine our previous posts:
What Happens When You Die, Part 1