What Is The Least I Can Do And Still Make It To Heaven?
John A. Keith
I have never heard anyone utter this exact phrase, but it almost seems that some have tried to ask that question without actually saying it. In some arenas, we are almost conditioned to finding out the minimum requirements and then doing no more than we have to. If youngsters are told to clean their room, they ask, “How clean?” At my job as a millwright, on one occasion, an apprentice and I were instructed to clean a certain piece of equipment that was covered with grease. As the young apprentice surveyed the greasy mess with a sad countenance, he asked, “How clean does it have to be?” So often, we seek to do the least we can to get by.
Some ask, “Do I really have to go to church every Sunday?” I generally respond by asking, “Why would a Christian NOT want to attend worship at each opportunity?” Aside from gospel meetings, lectureships, and other assemblies (which we should want to attend), congregations generally meet four hours each week: two on Lord's Day morning, another hour that evening, and an hour for Bible study at mid-week. Considering there are one hundred sixty-eight hours in a week, the time we spend in corporate worship with the church is but 2.4% of the week. Hebrews 10:25 says, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Here the inspired writer says we should not purposely miss church when we could be present. We miss so much when we absent ourselves from the public assembly.
Others, when they do attend, have little desire to participate. “As long as the preacher knows I was in attendance, that's good enough.” The preacher does not put a gold star by our names. God keeps His own records (Revelation 20:12). Several congregations have a song service on the fifth Sunday evening, and some will absent themselves because “they are just going to be singing.” Singing is worship to God (Colossians 3:16) and should be given the utmost attention as should other aspects of worship (John 4:24). How many folks do you know who leave their Bibles in the car because the only time they use them is when they go to church? Which is consulted more regularly: the Bible or the TV Guide?
Doing the least we can do may allow us to get by in some things, but it is neither the attitude nor the action of faithful Christians who are following the divine directive of 1 John 1:7. “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” When we obey the gospel, we have taken a step toward Heaven. A step is not walking. “Walk” implies one step after another. If we desire the continual cleansing offered by the blood of Christ, we must be in a continual walk with Christ. In Matthew 5:41, Jesus said, “And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile , go with him twain.” Jesus gives us this principle in dealing with our fellow man. Does Jesus Himself deserve less?
The Bible is not a list of minimum requirements for us to get to Heaven. The Bible is our pattern for living, for salvation, and for worship. It requires our obedience with purpose. “For the time is come for judgment to begin at the house of God: and if it begin first at us, what shall be the end of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous is scarcely saved, where shall the ungodly and sinner appear?” (1 Peter 4:17,18; emphasis mine).
A very ominous implication lurks in this passage. The text says that the righteous scarcely (“with difficulty; not easily” -Thayer) are saved. What does that say about the ones just trying to get by with doing the least they can do? “The least we can do and still make it to Heaven,” then, is do everything the Lord has commanded us to do, beginning with obedience to the gospel (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38), followed by walking in paths of righteousness and duty to God. –70 Gale Ave., Newport, OH 45768.
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