Why Claiming to Be Christian is Not a Guarantee of Heaven

Jesus warns us of this in the parable of the wedding feast:

“A man gave a great dinner to which he invited many. When the time for the dinner came, he dispatched his servant to say to those invited, ‘Come, everything is now ready.’ But one by one, they all began to excuse themselves.”

~ Luke 14:16-18

This is a provocative image of the flat out rejection of those faithful followers who found themselves to busy in their worldly affairs to give time to God. They claimed to be Christians, but their actions did not reflect that. When it came down to it they preferred other things to their relationship with God.

Does your faith define you?

If you’re planning on spending eternity in Heaven, then your life here on Earth should reflect that. Many people of faith would say that God is a part of their lives. But this is exactly the point that Jesus was making in the parable. For Christians, God is not another part of your life, like your kids soccer team or fantasy football. God is not something you fit into your life, rather your life should revolve around Him. He should be like the food you eat or the air you breathe, necessary, essential, central to your very existence.

To be a Christian is to take on a new identity. You are no longer defined by the things of the world, but rather by Christ. A Christian is one who lives life in intimacy with God. It does not mean perfection, but it does mean striving for it with the help of the Holy Spirit. After all we all share this “vocation to perfection” (LG).

Your faith in God as a Christian should define you, tell you who you are, how to live, what matters most, in every other aspect of your life. Your faith in God as a Christian should be the driving force behind everything you do, want, think, and desire.

Living Your Faith

Of course, to have faith, to live in faith should not just be something internal, interior. For just like any relationship the internal should radiate out into every other part of our lives. What you believe, or rather who you believe in should have a deep effect on the way you live.

It’s not to say that you must earn Heaven. But it is true that your faith must be put into action, the interior grace of your relationship with God must be reflected in the way you live your life. That is why Moses gave us the Commandments and Jesus the Beatitudes, not to make life difficult, but rather to show us what true faith lived out really looks like. Remember, God’s goal is our eternal happiness in Him.

So how do we live our faith? Well St. Paul does a great job of explaining this in his letter to the Romans:

“Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor. Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, exercise hospitality. Bless those who persecute [you], bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Have the same regard for one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly; do not be wise in your own estimation. Do not repay anyone evil for evil; be concerned for what is noble in the sight of all. If possible, on your part, live at peace with all. Beloved, do not look for revenge but leave room for the wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Rather, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.” Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good.”

~ Romans 12:9-21

It’s an exhaustive description of faith in action, an exhortation to live your Christian faith. And honestly, it sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it? The good thing is that most of us have a lifetime to learn these different expressions of faith. The idea is that our day to day lives, lived in relationship with God will allow us to grow deeper in our faith which will in turn allow us to put these things into practice.

God will perfect us in His love. That is the purpose of our earthly lives after all. And when we reach the end we will then be ready to join the hosts of saints in Heaven, living in that same perfected love forever in the presence of God. Are you up for the challenge?

Question: Does your faith define you? Is God a part of your life or does your life revolve around Him? Which areas of your life do you need to invite God into?