Several years ago, my wife and I took them on a cruise. It was a kid-friendly one, and we shared some adventures together. One thing that I remember about the cruise (other than leaving our kids sleeping in on the boat one morning, while we went ashore to see some sights), was that we were welcomed by name as we boarded the cruise ship. Whether it was just the order that we were checked in, or chips in our ID cards, the announcer knew (more or less) when we arrived. As an adult, it was a little campy, since it was pretty clear what was going on, but it was still nice to be noticed.
While there are some good reasons for us to keep working in the background, and not always attracting too much attention to ourselves, have a look at the following verse:
Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:11 NLT
In a world where there is much debate about who “gets into Heaven”, it certainly sounds like God isn’t trying to keep people out. Instead, He loved the world (including you and me) so much that prepared a way for anyone to join Him in eternity. I imagine Him calling us by name – since He knows those who are His (see John 10:3) – as we walk from this mortal life into eternity with Him. This will be the grandest entrance that we could ever hope for.
To be clear, if we remain in our sins (which we have all chosen to participate in, whether rarely or frequently), without accepting Jesus’ gift of salvation, we are obliged to face the consequences of our choices, and cannot live in the presence of a holy, sinless God. However, with the restoration that God has offered to us (and fully paid for), there is no good reason not to accept it.
I appreciate that some of us don’t feel worthy of God’s forgiveness, though. Sometimes, we might feel certain that a perfect God could not ever love someone as broken or failed as we are. Yes, we have fallen short of God’s standards, but He still loved us. In fact, He delays punishment to give people a chance to turn back from their own paths, and seek Him, instead.
The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.
2 Peter 3:9 NLT
So, just as I have to remind myself from time to time, when I get frustrated at sins that I continue to commit, God is not looking for excuses to keep us away. God has proven the extent of His love as he extended mercy to people who committed all sorts of sins (including Abraham, David, Rahab, Saul, a thief crucified next to Jesus, and me). There is nothing that you have done which takes you out of His sight or out of His desire for you to return.
Even if you have already chosen to follow Jesus, take some time today to turn back to Him from whatever pulls you away, and thank Him for His love. Commit to walking with Him and working to obey His commands (to show your love to Him once you have chosen to follow Jesus), and look forward to that grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom.
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.