Former Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, recently sat down with The Weekly Standard for an interview. The mayor was about to attend his 50th college reunion. In doing the interview, he opined on his own mortality, seeing so many of his classmates had already died. At age 72, he, like many others, begin to understand that time on earth is limited. He admitted he was a bit taken aback by how many of his former classmates had been appearing in the “in memoriam” pages of his school newsletter. But if he senses that he may not have as much time left as he would like, he has little doubt about what would await him at a Judgment Day. Pointing to his work on gun safety, obesity and smoking cessation, he said with a grin: “I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”
Well, mayor, I hate to break the news to you, but the very fact that you said “if” there is a God, suggesting that “if” there is a heaven, pretty well means you will not make it, if I understand the word of God. Heaven is an eternal home for people of faith. People of faith do not speak in “ifs”. People of faith speak in the certainties given them by the Word of the Most High God. And the interview? No one bypasses it. It consists of only one question. “Do you know my Son?”
The mayor’s views on heaven pretty well mirror those of our culture, who think heaven is something we must “do good” or “be good” to obtain. The Word of God teaches us that heaven is gained by the grace of God through faith in His Son, Jesus. Grace is defined as “the unmerited favor of God.” If it is unmerited, that means we have done nothing to merit (earn) it. It is freely given, and has nothing to do with all our good work or our sterling character.
Heaven is going to be full of sinners whose myriad of sins has been paid for by the death of Jesus on the cross. His resurrection is proof that our faith was not in vain. There is no “If there is a God…” or “If there is a heaven…” The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ give us the assurance of that for which we hope. That’s what Easter is all about. I pity those for whom there is no certainty about eternity. For the people of faith, Jesus paid it all, and that means if I follow Him I will not have to pay the price for my sin.
Hopefully, this Easter season will be the one that removes all the “ifs” from Mayor Bloomberg’s theology. I pray for him that he will soon know the certainty of God and heaven, through Jesus Christ. I praise God that I came to that many years ago and as I face the end of my days, I do it with joy in my heart because I know for certain where I will spend eternity.