A man said to my Christian friend, “I could never become a Christian because I would have to give up beer and cigarettes.“ That’s what he had been led to believe. My friend answered to his surprise, “I smoke all the beer and cigarettes I want.“
We build many such “unsanctioned” walls that keep spiritual immigrants out of Christ’s kingdom. Humans have always been prone to over-protect the borders to the gospel of Jesus. Understandable.
But apparently Christ doesn’t want us to build a wall. Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me shall never die” (John 11:25-27).
“Belief” is not a formula. It’s something that happens inside of us. “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart“ (1 Samuel 16:7).
There is no “magic” combination of words. You don’t have to “repeat this (specific) prayer” or include (or avoid) certain “key words.” There is no pledge of allegiance to memorize. No salute.
You don’t have to behave in a particular way to “prepare yourself.” Or give up beer and cigarettes—or any other behavior. There is no “probation period” for eternal life—before or after our border crossing.
Instead, the moment when we realize, “What have I got to lose?” and believe in Jesus, we find ourselves “in country.” There is no wall to scale. The border into the kingdom of Jesus is completely porous.