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Re: On Belonging

"..and be found in Him; not having my own righteousness, which is of
the Law, but through the faith of Christ, the righteousness of God by
faith, (Phil3:9) ...to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which
He has made us accepted in the Beloved. (Eph1:6)

Many jokes are told of a person approaching the "Pearly Gates" and
being greeted by 'St.Peter' as he asks "Why should I let you into
heaven?" Well... while such a view of Peter comes from catholic error,
it raises the question in our minds: "why should I be allowed into
heaven?" On what basis? On whose authority? Let us observe an object
lesson from real life, something that actually happened some 18 years

We had just moved to Plattsburgh, NY. Upon getting settled in it became
apparent that P'burgh was an "Air Force" town. As we became acquainted
with the place we discovered that pilots did a lot of training, and
there would be some days where the planes were taking off and landing
on a regular repeated basis. 

Since I happen to like airplanes, one day I found a spot where I 
thought I could sit awhile, relax, and watch the planes come and go.  I 
had pulled way off into a side road, away from the highway where the 
"No Parking" signs were posted. But pretty soon the base MPs came 
around to the fence with their bull horn to "Leave...get outta 
there...NOW!!!" Once I realized they were yelling at me, I got on my 
bike and up over the highway, down the other side, up to the fence to 
speak with them. "You don't know what's here. Nobody is s'pposed to be 
anywhere in the area!" So, as I was 'now' on the highway to go back
home, a highway patrol was coming the other way...I suppose they had
called him. Although he didn't stop me.

After a few months, we started attending a church in a neighboring town
where there was an Air Force pilot and his family. He flew KC135
refueling tankers.  One day he and his wife, me and mine, rented a
Cessna to go do a little flying. He taught me how to do some
touch-n-go's. And then, as we were flying around, he gets on the radio
with the control tower at the Air Base. Whatever his talking all meant,
he had just made arrangements with the tower, and we were now flying
right through the middle of the base. Right over the base's main
runway, 50ft or so off the pavement.  Control tower on one side. Flight
line, hangars and other buildings on the other.

In one case they were yelling at me through their bullhorns, "Get outta
here!!" And -now- I was right in the middle of this -high-security-
"nuke" facility. What was the change? Had I changed? Did I now have
special training, abilities and qualifications? Did I now have
"clearance"?  I had just learned to do touch-n-goes...was I now a
"pilot"?  "No" on all accounts. But I was -WITH- someone who was... all
these things. He had the clearance and qualifications.

How do we get into heaven? Do -we- 'become' righteous? Are we now
'good'?  Paul bemoans the flesh in Romans ch7. Is it all the
"faith-proving works" which we now do? (Jas2:14-26) "..knowing that a
man is not justified by the works of the law..." (Gal2:16) We cannot
keep our pharisaical 'lists' of piety and get into heaven.

The only qualified One is Jesus Christ. In our opening verse... it is 
-God's- righteousness which is imputed to us. (Rom4:6) The 
"righteousness of God -in- [Christ]" (2Cor5:21) ...through the faith 
"[of] Jesus". (Rom3:22) Did you notice this carefully? It is not even
-our- faith. It is Jesus' faith. Thus, Paul writes that "grace -AND-
faith" are -both- a "gift of God" (Eph2:8)

It is -Jesus- who contacts the 'control tower' and says, 'these people
are WITH ME'. He promised the dying thief, "Today you shall be
-WITH-ME- in Paradise" (Lk23:43)  and promises the Overcomer/s "..but I
will confess his name before My Father and before His angels." (Rev3:5)