By Johnie Edwards
A barrier is an obstacle that in some way restricts. A barrier may be installed on a highway to deter traffic from a place that workmen want to keep out traffic. There are some things that will definitely keep folks out of heaven. It is written about heaven, “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Rev. 21:27).
Pride Is A Barrier To Heaven
Sometimes pride keeps folks from seeking after God. The Psalmist said, “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts” (Psa. 10:4). Those filled with pride will just not humble themselves enough to seek after God and retain God in their thoughts. Pride fills the heart in such a way that one is deceived into thinking that he is just too high to fall. God’s people in the Old Testament had his problem. “The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high: That saith in his heart, who shall bring me down to the ground? Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the Lord” (Obad. 3-4). If you want to gear up for a good fall, just be filled with pride. Solomon said, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18). Pride allowed to have its way in your life will serve as a barrier to heaven.
Lack Of Bible Knowledge
You cannot obey that which you do not know! Not knowing has always been a problem among the people of God. Isaiah said of Israel, “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider” (Isa. 1:3). Hosea attributed a lack of knowledge to the destruction of God’s chosen people in Old Testament days. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: Because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shall be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children” (Hos. 4:6). If we don’t know, we can’t do, and if we fail to do, we will not be able to enjoy heaven. Jesus said, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).
You see, “being ignorant of God’s righteousness” causes people to go “about to establish their own righteousness” and consequently will “not submit themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Rom. 10:3). In light of these truths, all of us need to get to studying the Word of God, even to overflowing with truth, that we might know to do ourselves and teach others. We need a revival of Bible study and we must get back to Bible study if we expect to go to heaven when we die! It’s that simple.
Loving The Praise Of Men More Than Of God
Most people have an ego problem. Men are tempted to please those who fill their ego with that they like to hear. All of us like to receive praise from others for a job well done. Perhaps there is not enough appreciation shown for those who work hard and get the job done! But we all must be careful lest we become so hungry for some praise that we let that praise become a barrier to heaven. I recall visiting a sick man in a hospital and asking if there was anything that I could do for him. He responded, “What about a few kind words?” The desire to be heard of men led some in the days of Jesus to “sound a trumpet” before they prayed “in the streets, that they may have glory of men” (Matt. 6:2). It is said of the chief rulers that “many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:42-43).
Loving the praise of men more than the praise of God, sometimes keeps elders from doing their job as elders and keeps preachers and teachers from laying it on the line like it ought to be. Lest the desire to please men become a barrier to heaven, we need to develop the attitude expressed by Paul when he said, “For do I now persuade men, or God? Do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Gal. 1:10).
Worldliness Is A Barrier To Heaven
There is a vast difference in God loving the world (Jn. 3:16) and our being in love with the world. John said, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 Jn. 2:15-16). Worldly lust and pride that is allowed to dictate to us, rather than be governed by the word of God, will keep us out of heaven. Somebody is quick to say, “We live in the world and cannot keep from being a part of it.” This is so, but it is like the situation with a ship. The ship is in the water but when water begins to get into the ship, there will be problems!
Worldliness gets into church members and they begin to miss the services of the church, they often will drink socially, re-arrange their priorities to be less concerned about the things which once were spiritually important to them. Then, pretty soon, they are of no real value to the Lord and the church; if this continues, the worldiness will be a barrier to heaven.
Denominationalism has taught people that anything is all right with God, just as long as they are honest and sincere. Folks have reasoned, that if anything will be accepted by God, why do anything at all? After all, God is just too good to allow any to be lost! But we must remember that Paul said, “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off” (Rom. 11:22).
With many hundreds of religious denominations all teaching conflicting doctrines and ideas, many people are confused and just throw up their hands and quit. They think that if all those religious people can’t understand the Bible alike, surely I never could. This concept will keep a lot of people out of heaven.
A failure of denominational churches to teach the truth causes many to obey a false doctrine. John said, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” (2 Jn. 9).
Sin Is A Barrier To Heaven
Sin drove Adam and Eve from the garden of Eden (Gen. 3). Sin kept many of God’s people out of the land of Canaan. Sin separated man from God. Isaiah said, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isa. 59:1-2).
Attitude toward sin seems to have changed in the minds of a lot of people. It seems that, to many, sin is just not as bad as it once was! We need to realize that sin is sin and every generation needs to be taught what sin is and what sin will do for them. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). How long has it been since you sat down with your young people and talked to them about sin? Young people as well as the old need to know that sin “is transgression of the law” (I Jn. 3:4) and that one can be guilty of sin either by failing to do what God says (Jas. 4:17) or by committing acts of wrong doing. One is as bad as the other, for both are sin!
Sin is a barrier to heaven. For, “there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Rev. 21:27).
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 16, pp. 500-501
August 2, 1984