My Hope: Heaven
My Hope with Billy Graham combines the impact of video programs with the power of personal relationships. The film Heaven features a never-before-released message from Billy Graham as well as compelling stories and testimonies from Laurie Coombs and firefighter Cheyane Caldwell.
Be encouraged and inspired by this collection of special services from Calvary Albuquerque, which includes concerts, holiday performances, worship services, documentary presentations, and more.
This weekend, we viewed the BGEA evangelistic movie Heaven, so we have adapted the evangelistic devotional from March 16, 2012, from Pastor Skip's DevoMail archives to complement the movie.
You can view Heaven at billygraham.org/video/heaven. Subscribe to Skip's DevoMail at skipheitzig.com/devomail.
We have a problem: we are not holy. And holiness cannot coexist with unholiness unless something happens. And that "something" is God acting to purge the sin and declare us to be holy.
We find this theme throughout the Bible. In the Old Testament, the tabernacle was a picture of the gulf that exists between holy God and sinful man. This gulf makes Him unapproachable. But the tabernacle also teaches that the gulf can be bridged by sacrifice. People brought spotless animals, which were sacrificed in their place, and atonement was made. Read Hebrews 9:1-15. Discuss this truth, particularly the difference between the two tabernacles.
In the New Testament, we see the same theme in the cross of Christ. Jesus Christ, the perfect Lamb, lived the perfectly holy life that we could never live, and He died in our place. Then, upon His death, He conferred to us all of His holy merit. We who were once spiritually bankrupt instantly became spiritual billionaires. We're rich in God's favor because of the act of Jesus on the cross. Read Ephesians 1:3-7. Name the blessings that we have because of what Jesus did for us.
First Peter 1:19 tells us that we are redeemed "with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." Only one who is perfectly holy can perfectly cleanse someone who is perfectly unholy. That's what the atonement was about. God's solution to the problem was to make a declaration that the unholy person is now holy and cleansed—because of the act of Jesus Christ.
One of the reasons why many people come to church week by week and there's no change in their lives is because they don't see the great gulf that exists between unholy people and holy God, as evidenced by prayers like "God, if I have sinned, please forgive me." If? How about since? If you're not sure about it, what do you have to confess? Why bother talking to Him about it unless you know that you need Him?
John said, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). You have to admit your guilt, your unholiness. Read Romans 10:8-13. Verse 11 says you "will not be put to shame," so what would keep you from confessing your sins?
There's a great story about Frederick the Great, the king of Prussia from 1740-1786. He was visiting a prison in Berlin, and in cellblock after cellblock he heard the same story—the prisoners told him that they shouldn't be there, that they were innocent and had been falsely accused and judged. Finally, he came to a man who said nothing to him. Frederick said, "I suppose you're going to tell me you're innocent, too." But the man said, "No, I am justly punished. I did wrong." And the king said, "Quickly, release this rascal before he corrupts all these fine, innocent people here!"
That's exactly what God does. Those who say, "I need to be cleansed; I admit my unholiness" are the only ones God will declare holy. That's why self-righteous or "religious" people often do not get saved—because they see no need! They think they're good enough, holy enough. They have no conviction of their sin, and they don't call on God to cleanse them. Their faith is only a façade—a mask that hides their unholiness from everyone except God. The gulf is never greater than it is for the people who think it doesn't exist.
But thanks to our holy God, there is a solution to the problem of the great gulf between Him and us: "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7). The pathway to salvation starts with the acknowledgement and confession of our unholiness and sin. Once you're saved, regular confession cleanses you of daily sins and reminds you of your debt to Jesus. Read Ephesians 2:13. Give thanks to God for bridging the gulf, confess your sins, and encourage one another.
The Big Idea
"For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more" (Hebrews 8:12).