Immigration is a highly selective process, which consists of different eligibility criteria depending on the program. For example, the Skilled Workers Program takes into account a person’s skill, education, language ability and work experience. Other potential ways to immigrate may include Parental and Spousal Sponsorship. These processes involve submitting numerous documents, getting verified, attending interviews, etc. Generally speaking, it requires a lot of effort to obtain Permanent Resident status or Citizenship of another country. Going to Heaven is actually very similar to immigration, and it requires even more effort according to the following Bible verse:
<Matthew 11:12> “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it.”
But what are the criteria for immigrating to Heaven? Let’s first look at the Skilled Workers Program mentioned above. Your threshold points for immigration are calculated based on your skills, education, language ability, and work experience. What are the equivalents if we compare these requirements with God’s standards? Let’s find some clues from Bible scriptures:
<Matthew 7:21> “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven.”
<Matthew 22:37-39> “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
<2 Corinthians 7:1> “Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”
As we can see from the verses above, we have to do the Will of God, love Him the most, and love other people too. Additionally, we have to be pure. These are important criteria that determine our qualifications for entering Heaven. Let’s take a further look at these criteria:
Do the Will of God:
What does this mean exactly? Simply put, it is to do the work that God desires in order to fulfill His Will. You might wonder why He wants you to follow His Will. It is because He wants to give you blessings and protect you from harm. God’s Will contains His thoughts and ways, which are much higher than ours; hence, if we entrust ourselves to God, we will be able to gain the blessings He has planned for us and also avoid woes. While God wishes for us to go to Heaven through carrying out His Will, He does not abandon us so that we have do it alone. God sends prophets and the Messiah He has chosen, at various times, to deliver His Word and to do His work so that people can follow and fulfill His Will. Believing in God, as well as those He sent, is doing God’s Will. Doing what the Holy Spirit inspires you to do is also fulfilling God’s Will. Realizing the Will of God is the skill you must equip yourself with before going to Heaven.
<Isaiah 55:9> “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
<Jeremiah 29:11> “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
<John 6:29> Jesus said: “The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent.”
Love God and others:
Think about the Parental and Spousal Sponsorship for immigration. You are evaluated based on your relationship with the person who is already a citizen of the country.
In the New Testament, Jesus came as the son of God; therefore, the relationship between God and human beings was like that of a father and his son. People who believed in Jesus, and loved God and others just as he had, were able to go to Paradise with him. They loved God the way children loved their father. In the book of Revelation, the Lord said that he will return and hold the wedding banquet for a thousand years. Here, the Lord described his relationship with human beings to be like that of a groom and his bride.
For the Parental Sponsorship, the parents take care of everything for their children. However, for the Spousal Sponsorship, evidence of being together has to be provided alongside other documents. In the same way, before going to Heaven and living with God forever, evidence of love has to be provided. Of all the criteria, the most essential one is love.
<1 Corinthians 13:13> And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
< Revelation 2:4 > Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.
Just as you would be checked for past criminal records during your immigration process, you would also be checked if you had a sinful record before going to Heaven. It is difficult to do things perfectly without sinning. However, as long as you confess your sins sincerely to the Lord and set proper conditions, your sins will be forgiven. Repentance is what God granted to us as a means to receive salvation. Therefore, having a clean slate in front of God is an essential condition we must meet in order to enter Heaven.
<1 John 1:9> If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
<Acts 11:18> When they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God, saying, “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
Heaven is a place filled with eternal love and joy, and where God, the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Son dwell. It exists at the highest level in the spiritual world; hence, being a citizen in Heaven represents the highest status and position. However, just as the old saying goes, “No pain, no gain,” we have to work hard and take action only according to God’s Will in order to fulfill this dream of going to Heaven.
Immigration is a process through which we prepare ourselves to live in a foreign country. Similarly, for us to qualify to go to Heaven, we need to develop ourselves well according to the truth proclaimed by the Lord. His words are the instructions for how we can achieve eternal salvation. Even though there might be hardships and struggles along the way, as long as you do not give up, but do it until the end, the fruit you produce will be sweeter than ever, just as stated in Romans 8:18,
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.