In one of his books Max Lucado tells the story of being given tickets to attend to the Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, GA. For those of you who aren’t golf fans let me tell you that the Masters is the World Series or Super Bowl of golf. Tickets are extremely rare and extravagantly expensive. But because Max was good friends with a pro golfer, he was given tickets.
Max wrote: “So off we went to Augusta National Country Club in Augusta, Georgia where golf heritage hangs like moss from the trees. This was the place where legends were made and I was like a kid in a candy store. I couldn’t get enough. It wasn’t enough to see the grounds and walk the course, I wanted to see the locker room. That’s where the players hang out and that’s where I wanted to be.
As I walked towards the entrance, a guard stopped me. I showed him my pass, but he shook his head. I told him I was ‘a guest of so-and-so, you know, the pro golfer.’ The guard replied, ‘I’m sorry sir, but your name isn’t on the list of caddies and players’ All of name-dropping and cajoling would not make the guard budge. It didn’t matter that I was a pastor or that I had authored several Christian books. I was turned away right at the entrance because my name wasn’t on the list and I didn’t have the right credentials.
This will happen to many people at the most important place of all—the gate of heaven. They will be turned away because their name isn’t recorded in God’s Book. They may be God-fearing and church-attending and have a long list of accomplishments, but if they don’t know Christ and He doesn’t know them, then it’s all in vain.”
Later on, Max did get in to the coveted locker room. His golfer buddy who gave him the tickets asked Max if he wanted to be his caddy for a day. In order to be a caddy at the Masters, one has to wear a set of special white overalls. Max explained, “Later that weekend, I made my way to the clubhouse. And through the same door, walking past the same guard, I stepped into the golfing inner sanctum. What made the difference? One day I was turned away, the next I was welcomed. Why the change. Simple, I was wearing the right clothes.” [i]
If you and I are going to step into heaven it will be because we’ve been clothed in the righteousness of Christ and we have had our old sin-stained garments removed.
As Paul says in Colossians 3:9-12, “9 seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator . . . 12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” -DM