1.26.2007

Ticket to Heaven

I was captured recently by the lyrics of an old 3 Doors Down song, "Ticket To Heaven":

I’m walking a wire
Feel likes a thousand ways I could fall
To want is to buy, but to live is to die

And you can’t take it all
When everything is said and done I won’t have one thing left
What happened to everything that I ever known?

All thay gave me was this ticket to heaven
That ticket to heaven said to lie in the bed that you make
Now I’m restless and I’m running from everything
I’m running from everything
I’m afraid it’s a little too late

Soft voices lie, innocents die
Now ain't that a shame
And all your dreams, and all your money they don’t mean a thing
When everything is said and done, you won’t have one thing left
What happened to everything that I ever known?

All they gave me was this ticket to heaven

That ticket to heaven said to lie in the bed that you make
Now I’m restless and I’m running from everything
I’m running from everything
I’m afraid it’sa little too late
It’s a little too late

All they gave me was this ticket to heaven
That ticket to heaven said to lie in the bed that you make
Now I’m restless and I’m running from everything
I’m running from everything
I’m afraid it’sa little too late

All he gave me was this ticket to heaven
That ticket to heaven said to lie in the bed that you make
Now I’m restless and I’m running from everything
I’m running from everything
I’m afraid it’sa little too late
It’s a little too late

I am sure that I found these lyrics as interesting as I did because I have lived them. I remember still "knowing Jesus" but no longer considering myself worthy to be part of the covenant community and not knowing any remedy. If you were "saved" and then "back-slid", how did you find a way to any kind of salvation beyond that "ticket to heaven"? I was permenantly disqualified from anything better than God's "second-best" for my life, and I should be grateful to find myself actually still saved once I was on the other side of the grave.

The truth I found -- both in scripture and in the covenant community -- was this: I wasn't any closer to God's "best plan" for my life when I was still an unblemished pharisee, and all the parts of my salvation -- my justification, my sanctification, my usefulness now and later -- are wholly dependent upon His mercy and His grace. And in His mercy and grace, he justifies me, washes me clean, heals me, nurtures me, trains me, and uses me!

The gospel of John was the first place that I re-read and could read with new eyes! And then Romans, and then Hebrews, and finally, book by book, all of the Bible. The Bible tells of a God who created us all and created this world for a purpose, and who is not allowing our sin to get permanently in the way of His purpose. He is bringing His salvation to each age and to each people, and will finish the work with a flourish -- not in a heaven with us all sitting around on the clouds with our harps, but in a new earth that we will all inhabit in our resurrected bodies.

So I don't have to lie in the bed that I make, and I don't just have a ticket to heaven! Nor do you!

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