All Christians desire to be in heaven, but we aren’t always sure precisely why we can have confidence of entering heaven.
There are three reasons why God must let his saints into heaven: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. With each person is one of three blessings that theologians frequently draw attention to: justification, adoption, and sanctification.
These three blessings, and their peculiar relationship to each person in the blessed Trinity, provide us with great assurance concerning whether God will receive us into heaven when we die.
1. We Are Justified in the Son
First, in relation to the Son, we are justified through faith alone. This means not only that our sins are forgiven, but that, through faith, we receive the righteousness of Christ by God’s gracious imputation.
In other words, we can stand before the tribunal of God with as much assurance of our righteousness as Christ does before the Father. Not because God accepts our imperfection, but because God demands perfection from all who would enter life, and in Christ we possess a perfect righteousness by imputation. This is why justification cannot be revoked. This is why we cannot lose our salvation.
For this reason, we are as entitled to heaven as Christ himself because we possess his righteousness.
God would have to excommunicate his own Son to not let us into heaven.
2. We Are Temples of the Holy Spirit
Second, in relation to the Spirit, we are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19).
Christians “are not in the flesh but in the Spirit. . . . Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him” (Romans 8:9).
Our identity is not simply that we are in Christ, but that we are Spirit-filled in Christ. Because we are united to Christ, we also are united to the Holy Spirit, who is “the Spirit of Christ” (Romans 8:9). The Spirit’s work in us in this life does not reach perfection, but it is still his work.
For God to bar his saints from heaven, he would have to excommunicate the Spirit. Conversely, if the Spirit is welcome in heaven — and he most certainly is and has to be — then we who possess the Spirit will be welcome in heaven.
3. We Are Children of the Father
Finally, in relation to the Father, we are children of God (1 John 3:2).
In adoption we belong to the family of God. God is our Father. We bear the name of our Father (Revelation 3:12). God’s fatherly care is upon us so that he becomes responsible for our well-being.
In 1 Timothy 5:8, Paul says, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” This is also true for God the Father. When we die, God is responsible for our well-being.
For God the Father to bar his children from heaven, he would have to excommunicate himself. For a good Father can never be estranged from his children.
Why You Should Be Confident
We can sometimes isolate our blessings from the Trinitarian focus that they demand. Can you think of three greater reasons God should let us into heaven than the fact that each person of the Trinity would have to be excommunicated for us to be barred from glory?
So, why should you, as a Christian, be confident of entering heaven? The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Heaven is God’s throne, where Christ is seated in the power of the Spirit, in glory (Isaiah 66:1; Psalm 110:1; Acts 2:33). God will not give up heaven, and thus he will not let his people end up anywhere else but where he is.