Heaven is a far more wonderful place than feeble, frail, sinful mortals can imagine. We know the negative things that will not be there—no sickness, no crying, no sorrow, no pain, no sighing, no death. We often think of the absence of these awful things and know that Heaven is a wonderful place. But the real bliss and joy of heaven far surpasses anything that we can imagine. It has not entered into the heart of man. (1 Corinthians 2:9.) Heaven is worth everything. “He [the devil] knew well the value of Heaven far exceeded the anticipation and appreciation of fallen man. The most costly treasures of the world he knew would not compare with its worth. As he had lost through his rebellion all the riches and pure glories of Heaven, he was determined to be revenged by causing as many as he could to undervalue Heaven and to place their affections upon earthly treasures.”
“He had knowledge of the inestimable value of eternal riches that man had not. He had experienced the pure contentment, the peace and exalted holiness of unalloyed joys of the heavenly abode. He had realized before his rebellion the satisfaction of the full approval of God. He had once a full appreciation of the glory that enshrouded the Father, and knew that there was no limit to His power.” Review and Herald, March 3, 1874.
Not only is heaven worth everything, but heaven costs everything. (Luke 14:33.) Although eternal life is spoken of as a gift it is also referred to as costing everything a man has. (Matthew 13:44–46.) The only people who will make it to heaven are those who pay the price and this is the reason that so many professed Christians will lose eternal life. This all-out cost can be listed as:
- The chains of our defects of character must be broken moment by moment and hour by hour at any cost to ourselves. “By a momentary act of will you may place yourself in the power of Satan, but it will require more than a momentary act of will to break his fetters and reach for a higher, holier life. The purpose may be formed, the work begun, but its accomplishment will require toil, time, and perseverance, patience and sacrifice. The man who deliberately wanders from God in the full blaze of light will find, when he wishes to set his face to return, that briers and thorns have grown up in his path, and he must not be surprised or discouraged if he is compelled to travel long with torn and bleeding feet. The most fearful and most to be dreaded evidence of man’s fall from a better state is the fact that it costs so much to get back. The way of return can be gained only by hard fighting, inch by inch, every hour.” Selected Messages, vol. 2, 165.
- We must learn the lesson of self-denial—this is a lesson of the cross that we must learn if we are to enter heaven. “Some hardly know as yet what self-denial is, or what it is to suffer for the truth’s sake, but none will enter heaven without making a sacrifice . . . Those who are willing to make any sacrifice for eternal life will have it, and it will be worth all that it costs. The far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory will eclipse every earthly pleasure.” Review and Herald, August 5, 1884.
Everyone can be saved but most will not, because they are not willing to meet the condition upon which the gift of eternal life is promised. This condition stated in simple language is that each of us, by a conscious decision, choose to surrender our own way, our own will, our own plans, our own ideas, everything that belongs to us and accept in exchange the will and mind and life of Christ. This means a rejection of our past sinful life (repentance) and trustful acceptance of an altogether new life that begins to be lived out and continues to be lived out moment by moment, by faith, until we attain “to perfection of Christian character, a full preparation for the finishing touch of immortality.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 505.
“If heaven is gained by us at last, it will be only through the renunciation of self, and the receiving of the mind of Christ. Pride and self-sufficiency must be crucified, and the vacuum supplied with the Spirit and power of God. Are we willing to pay the price required of us for eternal life? Are we ready to sit down and count the cost, and conclude that heaven is worth the sacrifice of dying to self, of having our will brought into perfect conformity with the will of God? Until we are willing, the transforming grace of God will not be manifested upon us. When we present our emptied nature to God, He will by His Holy Spirit supply the vacuum made by the renunciation of self, and give us of His fullness.” Signs of the Times, November 21, 1892.
Will you make it to heaven? Only if you choose now to pay the price.