It is clear from Scripture that getting to heaven is a process that involves two essential elements: God’s part and our response to it. God has provided the means of salvation from sin, its guilt, consequences, and domination, through Jesus Christ’s vicarious sacrifice on Calvary (Matthew 26:26-28). The motivating factor for that involves 1) His tireless, unfading, goodwill toward His creation (love, John 3:16) and 2) His mercy (Ephesians 2:4-5). His holiness demanded justice for wrongdoing; He has to be Just to justify the guilty (Romans 3:25-26). Because He loves us, when we could not provide it ourselves, He did by sending His Firstborn into the world to do what we, or any law/code/legalistic religion could not – pay for the crimes Himself. He did it in totality, once, and for all time (Hebrews 1:2-3). We cannot, by any means, save ourselves by our “good works.”
Therefore, the highway to heaven is the highway of His grace. Picture an easily accessible, inviting, smooth roadway, free of potholes, damaging interference, other motorists, anything that would impede progress – for His grace is all sufficient (1 Cor. 12:9). If we remain on that highway it will invariably lead us to where He is, waiting for us to arrive. God’s grace is His favor given to us when we did not deserve it. All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). Yet grace stepped in to pave the way for us to get home. You and I are on one of two highways: the highway to heaven as a Christian, or the highway to hell as an unbeliever. Please consider which one you now travel.
The vehicle in which we must travel is faith. It can accommodate any passenger. It does not matter what a person looks like, where they are from, what they have done. If they hear and believe the gospel (Romans 10:17; Mark 1:15), trusting Jesus to save them (John 8:24; Acts 4:12), and do as Christ commands (John 14:15): confess His name as divine (Matthew 10:32), repent of sins (change the mind/heart about sinful behavior) (Luke 13:3, 5) and submit to water baptism (Mark 16:16), Jesus promises salvation, eternal life, and heaven as rewards. Jesus’ blood, not water, through their obedience of faith to the gospel (Romans 16:26), cleanses them from all their past sins. As they continue to live by faith, remaining inside the vehicle of faith, and repent of sins, fulfilling the will of Christ as best they can, sins will continue to be forgiven (1 John 1:7) and faith will get them home intact, safe and sound.
Faith alone is not enough. It may surprise you but the only text in all of Scripture that combines the words “faith” and “only” in a passage were recorded by James, the inspired writer, who stated we are NOT saved by faith only (James 2:24). Though the kind of faith he speaks of is the kind which thinks one thing but fails to act, any disobedient, rebellious, faith is insufficient to save. The devils believe, but they refuse to honor God’s will. Furthermore, Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:2, “…though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” He said the only thing that matters is “faith working (there’s the obedience part!) through love” (Galatians 5:6). Therefore, love must be the fuel which propels the vehicle of faith. Just like an empty gas tank on an automobile will leave it immobilized, faith which has no love channeling through it will fail one way or another. If we stop loving God and those He loves (everyone), then no matter how much we believe Him to be God and accept His word as truth, we will not be treating Him with the respect that love demands, nor anybody else for that matter. Our vehicle of faith will sit on the roadside, useless, unable to move, unable to get us where we want to be and where we need to be. Love is absolutely necessary to get us to heaven!
These three things are essentials: grace, faith, and love. Grace is the highway, faith is the vehicle, love is the fuel. Each is critically important to get us to heaven. God has paved the way home by His grace with the precious blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. Let the vehicle of faith, fueled by love, get us there.