A few years ago, I had an experience at the border between Canada and the United States that I will remember for a long time. I had forgotten my passport, and now I had to wait in the border town for someone to bring it.
While I was waiting, I kept thinking about how horrible it will be for people trying to enter the gates of heaven and discovering that they have no “passport” to heaven—no entry permit for that world of eternal salvation.
Jesus once said to Nicodemus, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). He makes it clear that being born again is absolutely necessary to enter heaven.
It is said that someone once asked John Wesley why he preached so often about being born again. He answered, “Because you need to be born again!”
When I was stopped at the border, I came up with all sorts of reasons to convince the guards that I urgently needed to get across. But they said, “You need a passport!”
If you, dear reader, get to the gates of heaven without the passport of new birth, it will not be at all difficult for you to convince the heavenly border guards that you absolutely need entry into heaven to avoid eternal damnation. However, just as the border guards did not let me through without my passport, entry into heaven without the passport of new birth is not possible. It is a serious and exceedingly horrible thing to be excluded from heaven. That is why it is so important to make the necessary preparations—right now! “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).
All my assurances that I did indeed own a passport were not enough for the border guard. He insisted, “You need to have your passport with you before we can let you in.”
What an important lesson for us, dear reader. We can have all sorts of documentation, for example a certificate from church authorities that we were good church members, and so forth. However, what really matters is experiencing new birth. Anyone who is not born again will not be allowed into heaven.
Just as I wished that I had not forgotten my passport that day at the border, countless lost souls will wail in damnation, “I wish I hadn’t put off the most important things that long!” But no amount of regret will make a difference because the time of grace will be over and all opportunities along with it. Do not put your rebirth off any longer!
We become children of God by being born again. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). Would you not like to turn to the Lord in His glory and ask Him humbly, with faith and repentance, to enter your heart and your life? If you ask Him with all your heart, He will grant your plea.
I could have saved myself this entire unpleasant experience by taking my preparations for the trip just a little more seriously. This is the same problem so many people have when it comes to being born again. They put off repentance and conversion for too long—and one day, it is suddenly too late. Procrastination is a dangerous thing if the salvation of your soul is at stake.
Before this experience at the border, I had often crossed without any issues whatsoever. I knew that crossing the border was not as easy as it used to be, but I thought they would give me a little leeway because I had already crossed so often. How wrong I was!
So many people hold a false hope, believing that they will one day enter heaven despite not having any assurance of salvation. They say, “I hope I will be saved—I hope to get to heaven!” Often, they also sing, “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!” But they do not have the assurance of having passed from death to life (see 1 John 3:14).
Do not, dear reader, content yourself with mere hope! All of my false hope went up in smoke when the border guard said to me, “You need to have a passport before we can let you cross.”
And so, I cannot warn you urgently enough: Do not succumb to mere hope! Take it seriously and assure yourself of your salvation! If you fail to do so, you will one day experience a most dreadful disappointment.
Now comes the best part of my experience at the border: When I finally had my passport in hand, I was able to confidently walk up to the guard, show my passport, and cross the border without a problem. The obstacles had been removed, and with nothing left to stop me, I joyfully went on my way.
The same holds true in our spiritual lives. If we have the assurance of new life, we do not need to be afraid to meet God. When we arrive at the gates of heaven, we will hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matthew 25:23). Do not remain in uncertainty! Take this opportunity today to make sure that you have your passport to heaven!