2nd October 2012

The Invitaton That Money Can’t Buy

“The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’”
Revelation 22:17 (TNIV)

I have a drawing of a rural Ghanaian village, where a sign prominently displays, “Heavens Gate–No Bribe.”  Isn’t this a fantastic idea? That there is a place where you can’t buy your way in, however rich or powerful you are?

The economics of the afterlife are very different from today. For example, in a striking image, Revelation 21:21 depicts the 12 gates of the New Jerusalem, the city of God, as constructed from 12 single pearls (I wouldn’t want to meet those oysters!). The objects of wealth today will be the normal building materials of tomorrow. Any attempt to buy your way in just won’t work.

So, how do we get in to the New Jerusalem? Well, we are all freely invited. Jesus offers himself as the way in, he says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”  This is good news for all, for the shocking reality is that no one is worthy of entering heaven. However rich, powerful, clever or religious we are, it will never be enough for us to gain entry.  Instead, God offers us a way in, through grace. A free invitation.  As the book of Revelation tells us: “Let those who are thirsty come; and let all who wish take the free gift of the water of life” (Revelation 22:17).

The downside? We will have to accept that all the keys that open doors for us today, wealth, power and cunning, will be left behind. However, that isn’t really a downside. For the shedding of these traits will allow the world truly to be at peace.

“Heavens Gate – No Bribe” isn’t just wishful thinking. It is right at the centre of Christian hope.

Father, teach us to reject putting our faith and hope in the riches of this world. Fill our minds with the knowledge that Jesus has opened up the gates of heaven for us all. Also, we ask that you fill our hearts with the anticipation of this new world that Jesus is building, where all things are made new.

Study by Ian Woodley

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