“The twelve gates were twelve pearls” ~Revelation 21:21
Two friends were talking over lunch when one said, “I just hope I make it through those Pearly Gates!”
“What do you mean?” said his friend.
“Just what I said. I mean I give a tithe in church, well, most of the time. I drive a food truck for meals on wheels. I help my older neighbor keep up his landscaping and I help support a few missionaries through our church. I’m sure that must count to my credit on that final day.”
“I am sure that God delights in your sacrificial giving, Charlie. And those who receive the fruit of your labors are certainly blessed. But what has that got to do with the Pearly Gates of the New Jerusalem?”
“Well, I don’t want to be turned away on that final day. I couldn’t think of anything worse, Bill.”
“So, you think that God keeps a tally for every person who’s ever lived and if their works don’t measure up, they might be turned away at the Pearly Gates?”
Charlie blushed at Bill’s description and felt confused when he heard it described in this way. “I’ve got to admit that when I hear your description, I’m not sure but I am concerned about not getting in. I mean a guy can only do so much and I’m sure God’s requirements are pretty high.”
“The amount of good deeds you and your family accomplish is phenomenal, Charlie, but that has nothing to do with gaining entrance through the Pearly Gates.”
What are you talking about. I’ve heard that said most of my life. How could I be wrong?”
“Let’s back up a bit. First off, how do we know we’re going to spend eternity with God?”
“By believing in Christ as our Savior!”
“Exactly. If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9-10). And then, a few verses later it says, “For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
“I get that, of course but we still have to do good works,” said Charlie
“Good works should be a natural outcropping of your new life in Christ, Charlie, not an obligation that assures you of your salvation. Our salvation which brings total forgiveness of sins was given to us freely, not based on our good reputation.”
“Look at Ephesians 2:8-10, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
“There it is, man. We have to do the good things he planned long ago. Clearly if we don’t, no pearly gate entrance,” said Charlie.
“Really? So you think Jesus suffered horribly and died on that cross so we could all get busy and work out heads off to prove how much we love Him, sort of earning our salvation? Charlie, I understand how easy it is to get confused and think we must do works to keep our salvation and on that final day present ourselves at a pearly gate, hoping we did enough to get inside. But it isn’t true. Think about the thief on the cross (Luke 23:42-43). He said, Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” And the Lord said, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” He did not say, I’d like to bring you into paradise but you’ve only done bad works and now it’s too late.”
“What about the woman caught in adultery? After her accusers left in shame, “Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” ~John 8:10-11
“Charlie, there is no moment of truth where we are presented to an angel or Peter, as some of the stories indicate, at one of the pearly gates, asking if we qualify to enter. That is a myth which brings fear and confusion. So who do you think made it up? Obviously not God. Our eternal destination is settled once, for all time, when we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and receive forgiveness of all sins!
“Well, what about the pearly gate. I know it is mentioned in the Bible.”
“Indeed. Chapter 21 of Revelation describes The New Jerusalem as “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven. Its walls will be 216 feet thick and its length and width and height will be 1,400 miles!
“There will be twelve gates made of pearls— each gate from a single pearl! Its gates will never be closed…Nothing evil will be allowed to enter…but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life!”
Since we believe the blood of the Lamb was shed to save our souls, our names are inscribed in that special Book.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 ~For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.