Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (NLT)
Have you ever wondered what it will be like to enter heaven? There have been many songs written about entering heaven. Some focus on seeing loved one and other saints that have passed on but yearning to see Jesus. Others consider what we will do when we first see Jesus. Will we fall on our faces, will we shout with praise, will we be scooped up and hugged by Jesus? One song talks of a welcoming committee of people who have been somehow blessed by our ministry, even things we never even considered as ministry.
What would a grand entrance, rich welcome, abundantly supplied entrance, or gates opened wide be like, as different versions state? When famous people visit a city, they are often given a key to the city, a symbolic gesture that says that all the resources of the city are available to them. Is that what Peter is talking about? Are we going to get keys to heaven when we enter? Think about it, only dignitaries, nobles, or famous people get a key to the city but God is promising us a grand entrance into heaven. We who were once opposed to God and enemies, we who have done nothing to deserve even to be in heaven will be welcomed with great fanfare. It boggles my mind.
Am I only speculating about this? What does other Scripture say about this? The first that comes to mind is Matt 25:21 "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'” (NIV) There are requirements to hearing the Lord Jesus say this to us. We need to be faithful in a few things. God has placed us here for a purpose and we need to be faithful to Him. He doesn’t ask much and He gives us His Holy Spirit to make sure we can do the little that He requests. In the eternal perspective, what He has entrusted to us is little, but what He will give us in eternity is much. That is quite amazing. In addition to that, He says that by taking charge of the things He has in store for us in heaven, we will be sharing in His happiness. This certainly sounds like we will have a grand entrance.
Col 3:3-4 “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (NIV) This is a big clue as to why we will receive a rich entrance into heaven. I can imagine God standing at the gate to heaven. He looks down the road and sees someone coming. Will He open the gate and welcome this person? He will if He recognizes him. If He sees that the person is a dignitary, noble, or fantastically deserving person, God will have a parade with throngs cheering and trumpets blowing. When the person gets near, God breaks out the band and everyone rushes to line the street. Who does God see coming? He sees His own Son. He doesn’t see our sins or failures. He only sees the righteousness and holiness of Jesus. Yes, He knows that hidden in the image of Jesus is John or Jane Doe. But Jesus died for us and that means He will welcome us just as He would welcome His own Son.
Matt 16:19 “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (RSV) Jesus has already given us the keys to heaven. We have, through Him, access to everything that heaven has to offer. Jesus is the way to heaven and no one will be able to enter without Him. Not only do we have entrance to Heaven but we can call on Him now to provide what is needed to further His kingdom on earth. John 15:7-8 “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (NIV) We have the Gospel message which will loose any who respond and will actually bind or condemn any who hear and reject it.
Rev 3:21 “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.” (NIV) Not only will we be treated as royalty when we enter heaven, but we will become royalty. Don’t ask me how this works. I don’t know how each person who enters heaven will be able to rule with Jesus. The question is who will we rule over if everyone is ruling? Beats me, I only know what I read. I also know this: 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (RSV) This all fits together in heaven.
I certainly don’t want to miss out on it. Do you? He has promised us this great entrance, but the greatest part of it will be to see God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit as they truly are. Rev 22:17 “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” (NIV) If you thirst and yearn to see Jesus, to see evil ended, to be done with sin, then the invitation is open to have a grand entrance into heaven.