Three Chairs at the Gate of Heaven

What I am about to share with you could literally lead to the salvation of your soul. And that in turn could lead to others in your family being saved after you tell them about the three chairs. It's an incredibly simple concept. The good news of the Gospel is easy enough for a child to grasp.

dan delzell opinion page

So here goes. Take a deep breath. And picture yourself at the gate of heaven.

Now imagine an angel of the Lord telling you: "Before you find out whether or not you are going to enter heaven, or instead, be sent to hell, I want you to sit down in one of these three chairs. But choose wisely. Once you sit down, two of the chairs will drop into hell, and only one of the chairs will remain. If you sit in the chair that remains, you will be welcomed into heaven."

"Each chair represents the basis of a person's hope and confidence for heaven. The chair on the right represents the person who is placing full confidence in his performance on earth. He believes he has done enough good things to earn eternal life. He relies upon his sincere religious efforts to save his soul. If you have been trusting in your behavior to earn your way into paradise, sit in that chair."

"Now the chair on the left is for the person who thinks: 'Surely the death of Christ on the cross must account for a portion of my eternal salvation. I cannot earn my way into heaven all by myself.' And so the person who sits in this chair is trusting partly in his deeds, and partly in the cross where Jesus died, as the basis for his acceptance into heaven. If that describes the basis of your hope for heaven, then sit here."

"The middle chair is the final option. This chair represents the person who has "placed all of his eggs in one basket" so to speak. It represents the person who is placing 100% of his confidence for heaven in the sacrificial death of Christ. He is relying totally upon the blood which Jesus shed for him on the cross. And while the person who sits in this chair does plenty of good works on earth after first trusting Christ, he does not rely upon any of these works to gain entrance into heaven. Instead, he relies only upon the payment Jesus made for his sins on the cross."

Imagine the angel then saying, "So there you go. You have 3 minutes to make your selection. But no questions may be asked at this point. The time for asking questions and receiving answers was during your life on earth. Today is the beginning of your eternal existence in either heaven or hell."

So which chair would you choose in that hypothetical situation? While it's obviously not going to play out like that at heaven's gate, the three chairs can nevertheless help you grasp the Gospel and apply the good news of salvation to your

The time to "choose your chair" is now. No one will be given the opportunity to repent and believe the good news on Judgment Day. It will be too late to come to Christ and be saved on that day. "Today is the day of salvation." (2 Cor. 6:2)

And those three chairs essentially represent the various religions in the world. The middle chair represents Christianity, and the other two chairs represent other religions which are available to man today. The teaching of Scripture is that only the faith represented by the middle chair delivers God's grace and forgiveness. Man cannot earn his way into God's family or into heaven.

But what about good works? Doesn't God expect them from His children? Of course. But He only accepts the works of those who have first trusted Christ alone for salvation. Only then do any of man's works become good in God's eyes. The works done by those in the other two chairs are worthless to God. The prophet Isaiah put it this way: "All our righteous acts are like filthy rags." (Isaiah 64:6)

In other words, all the works done by religious people amount to nothing if they are not first trusting in the cross to grant them forgiveness. Man cannot work His way into being forgiven, and man cannot work his way into having God accept Him. There is only one basis upon which God will accept man, and that is the death of Jesus Christ as the payment for man's sin. Nothing else satisfies the Father expect Christ's perfect sacrifice which was the perfect payment for sin.

If you think your good works help to wash away your sins, think again. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your religion means nothing to the Father if Christ is not the One you are trusting completely for salvation. If you are trusting partly in Christ and partly in your efforts, then you have the "faith" of the chair on the left. It is not biblical faith, and it has not brought you into God's family. It never will. Only faith in Christ and His cross can bring about that miracle.

There were three crosses on the day the Savior died. And there was a perfect Man who died on the middle cross. He is the Son of God. He made a payment you and I could never make in a billion years. And after they brutally killed Him, He rose from the dead and appeared to hundreds of His followers. (see Acts 1:3 and 1 Cor. 15:6) Today He lives in the hearts of those who have the faith represented by the middle chair.

That is the Gospel my friend. It couldn't be any easier to accept. In fact, it's free. Jesus paid it all. And your choice concerning the three chairs happens now. But make no mistake about it. If you go forward from this day without the faith of the middle chair, you are choosing to remain blind and choosing to remain outside of God's acceptance, forgiveness, and salvation.

God loves you. Christ died for you. But He won't force you to find spiritual rest in the middle chair and become a follower of Christ. If God operated in that manner, then everyone in the world would trust Jesus and follow Him as their Lord. Man would be like a puppet or a robot. Instead, God invites us to trust in Christ alone. The choice is yours. That's the way God designed it.

If you currently find yourself "without a chair," or sitting in one of the two outer chairs, then this is your opportunity to move to the middle chair. You can place all of your confidence for the forgiveness of your sins in what Jesus did for you on the cross. You can stop relying upon your religion to save your soul, and instead rely completely upon Christ.

If you do that my friend, you will understand the Gospel for the first time. You will realize from God's Word that your sins are forgiven. And you will learn that heaven is your eternal home because you are eternally secure in Christ.

This is the message of the Bible. This is what Jesus taught. And the minute you repent of your sin and receive Jesus as your Savior, (see John 1:12) you will begin to please Him as a child of God who has been redeemed by the blood of His Son.

The alternative is to work as hard as you can and be as religious as possible in hopes of helping your soul make it into heaven. But no matter how much you strive for this goal, you will never work your way into heaven. It just won't happen. That's not how a person gets on the highway to heaven, or makes it through the gate of heaven into paradise.

Are you sitting in one of the two outer chairs today? If so, you would be wise to switch chairs. Embrace the Savior. And never again fall under the spell of thinking you are able to save your own soul.

As the apostle Peter declared, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12) The clear teaching of Scripture is simply, "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved." (Acts 16:31)

So go ahead. Have a seat. But do so carefully. The ramifications are huge, and eternity is a long, long time to be wrong.

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Wellspring Lutheran Church in Papillion, Neb. He is a regular contributor to The Christian Post.

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