Being a journalist for most of my life has had its perks. Lucrative compensation wasn’t among them, unfortunately, but I did get to go to some interesting places. I had the privilege of meeting the late, highly respected Dr. Richard Halverson in the U.S. Senate Building when he was chaplain of the Senate. I got to go up to an exclusive restaurant atop one of the World Trade Center towers several years before they were destroyed by terrorists.
A constable took me inside the police headquarters in Montego Bay, Jamaica. I even toured the inside a new electronic scoreboard at Ohio Stadium while the football mecca was being renovated some years back. Who knew those scoreboards are so huge, you could take up residence in one?
In each case, I couldn’t just stroll in on my own accord. I was with someone authorized to let me enter and guide me through. Although it never happened, if someone had challenged whether I was entitled to be allowed in, I would have just pointed to my host and said, “I’m with him.”
What if it’s like that when our earthly tour has come to an end and we’re standing in front of the proverbial “pearly gates”? What if, as some of us were taught in the door-to-door evangelism script, we encounter God at the entrance and He asks, “Why should I let you into My Heaven?” Maybe, instead of trying to recount the meritorious things we said and did, we’ll simply point to Jesus and say, “I’m with Him.”
Because that’s what the Scriptures teach over and over. For instance, Romans 5:8 asserts, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” As a friend used to paraphrase this verse years ago, “Christ took the rap for me.”
Another passage in the same book elaborates the “with Him” concept in unequivocal terms: “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with” (Romans 6:4-6).
Yet another “with Him” passage revolutionized my thinking – and my faith – when I read, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
During His time walking the earth, Jesus loved the relationships He built with His followers. Mark 3:14 states, “He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach.” Much in the gospels speaks about interactions Jesus had with His closest disciples. But the Scriptures also tell of how He eagerly anticipates our being with Him in the life to come.
In fact, 1 John 3:2 declares we not only will be with Christ, but “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”
So one day, if the hypothetical question is asked, “Why should I let you into My Heaven,” we can respond not only, “I’m with Him,” but we’ll also make the amazing discovery that we’re like Him. The eternal family resemblance, apparently, will be unmistakable!