November 30th, 2022

Is There a Heaven for a Gangster, or You?

Date:

“…At one time you all had your backs turned to God, thinking rebellious thoughts of him, giving him trouble every chance you got. But now, by giving himself completely at the Cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God’s side and put your lives together, whole and holy in his presence. You don’t walk away from a gift like that! You stay grounded and steady in that bond of trust, constantly tuned in to the Message, careful not to be distracted or diverted…” Colossians 1:21-23 (MSG)

Is There a Heaven for a Gangster?

Or a murderer? Or a prostitute? Or a scammer? Or an adulterer? Or an {insert your –er}?

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Yes, but repentance is required.

Let’s talk about repentance for a bit.

It’s a big word, ten letters in all. It sounds like something a preacher would holler from the pulpit in the midst of a hellfire and brimstone sermon. It would sound pretty scary to a sinner like me, before I knew better.

Repentance simply means to change your mind.

It’s not a change your mind, like, “I want apple pie. Better yet, let me get sweet potato pie. Or pecan pie. Maybe.”

It means to decide to allow the Holy Spirit to change your mind about the things that are drawing you away from God. It means to submit your heart so that those things that used to appeal to the desires of your heart would never appeal to you again.

Now, about those gangsters and murderers and scammers and prostitutes and adulterers…

The New Testament G’s

Saul was both a gangster and a murderer. Bartimeus was a scammer and a tax collector.  Mary Magdelene was a prostitute.

Yet, God still invited them all to follow Him.

Y’all do remember that Saul used to persecute people who followed Jesus, kill them and/or throw them in jail, right? BUT GOD offered him the invitation to follow Him. And Saul said, YES!

And that’s the key. Heaven for any of us depends on if we put down our old life and say YES. I don’t care what you’ve done – and neither does God.

According to Revelation 22:17, there is always an invitation available. It doesn’t matter if people think you’re undeserving, Jesus says come! Crip, Blood, Latin King – Come! It doesn’t matter if you yourself think that your life has been a series of anti-God decisions, Come! Stripping, selling your body, selling dope, selling stolen goods, Jesus says, “Come!”

What’s Your RSVP for Heaven?

All He asks is that you allow the Holy Spirit to change your mind about your old life and choose a new life in Him.

“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have THE RIGHT to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.” Rev 22:14 (NIV)

Jesus died for our sins. This is true. He died so that our sins would be forgiven. It’s unconditional. But remember when Jesus meets the woman at the well who has had 5 husbands and is fooling around with boyfriend #6? He tells her to go and sin no more. She says YES in her actions – runs off to tell people about the man she met who told her all about her life.

So, yes. There is a heaven for a gangster and anyone else who has lived a life that resembles hell on earth. But, the same loyalty that was given to the old lifestyle will now be required in the new.

So, What’s the Play Call?

Work out your own soul salvation with all seriousness and urgency. Meditate on and apply 2 Chronicles 7:14 to your life this week, it reads:

If my people who belong to me will humbly pray, seek my face, and turn (repent) from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.”

 

Lisa Yvette Pearsonhttp://www.lisayvettepearson.com
Lisa Yvette Pearson is a fearfully and wonderfully made Brooklyn Girl living in a Midwestern world. She is a blogger, writer, and author of "Confessions of a Faithful Slacker" - an inspired book created to encourage believers to renew and restore their individual relationships with Jesus Christ. Follow her on Instagram or visit her blog at www.lisayvettepearson.com.

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Colleen T
Colleen T
5 years ago

This article is what our salvation is all about!! No matter what we have done all we have to do is lay it at the feet of Jesus….He paid it all for us….our gift should not be played with we should always remember the price He paid before going to dabble in sinful practices and/or lifestyles. Thanks for the real life examples and pointing us back to the real G….GOD who gave His son because He loved us!!

Tiffani
Tiffani
5 years ago

I LOVED this! Such an enjoyable read. It made me laugh and think!

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