Essential Surgery Before You Enter
Villas Las Estrellas is a Chilean town and Antarctic station on King George Island. Yet despite its small size (about 100 residents) and inhospitable location this community boasts a school, bank, church, commissary, gymnasium, and souvenir shop. But no one is allowed to live or work in this town who does not first have their appendix removed. Yes, they must first undergo an appendectomy before they come. This rule applies to everyone – spouses and children included.
The reason is simple. Although Villas Las Estrellas has a small clinic, it rarely has a surgeon on hand. The nearest hospital is 600 miles away and impossible to reach in the winter months. Therefore, any cases of acute appendicitis will probably end in death.
This concern is not without basis. In 1961 a Russian Antarctic explorer (and also a surgeon), Leonid Rogozov had to perform an appendectomy on himself. His case of acute appendicitis threatened his life, and he was forced to operate without anesthetic. He survived the surgery but was on his back for the next two weeks. This is why Villas Las Estrellas, and other Antarctic bases, have such restrictions.
So, what do you think? You’ll pass on Antarctica? Never wanted to go there, anyway? Well, that’s fine.
But there is a place we’ll all want to go to – Heaven. And Heaven has restrictions of its own. Heaven, the New Heaven and New Earth described in Revelation 21-22, is a place of incredible and unfathomable beauty. God spared no expense, not even the life of His own Son, to prepare a place for believers to dwell with Him forever. In Heaven there’ll be no death, mourning, crying, or pain (Revelation 21:4). Nor will it ever be night there (Revelation 22:5). Whatever temporary joys, pleasures, and beauty exist in this dreary world, those in Heaven will outshine them as the sun outshines a candle. No sane person would ever want to miss this place.
But Heaven has some serious restrictions. Look at what God says in His word. “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27). Heaven is not a place for those whose lives are controlled by sin. For, “Outside (of Heaven) are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood” (Revelation 22:15).
According to the Scripture, no human being can possibly be fit for Heaven until Jesus Christ has first performed His miraculous work in their soul. Not until Jesus has washed them in His own blood (1 John 1:7) and clothed them with His righteousness (Isaiah 61:10; 2 Corinthians 5:21) can they be fit for Heaven. Nor could anyone possibly endure Heaven unless Christ has first performed His own spiritual “heart surgery” upon them (Ezekiel 36:26-27). Christ must first take out of us our old, sinful heart that is hostile toward God (Romans 7:7-13; 8:5-8). And He must give us a new heart, that hungers and thirsts for God (2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 32:11-14). Only then will we be fit for Heaven.
But if we will only invite the Lord Jesus into our hearts now and trust in His atonement and power to save us, He will reconcile us to His Father. Plus, Jesus will cleanse us from our sins, forgive us, and make us a new creation on the inside. He’ll write our names in His Book of Life – reserving us a place in Heaven. Jesus will also fill us with His Holy Spirit, who is God’s guarantee that He’ll finish His work of redemption in us and bring us safely into heaven.
Forget about removing your appendix. We need Jesus to remove sin from our hearts and lives, so we’ll be fit and ready for Heaven.
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, here and now I open the door of my heart and life to You. Please come into my heart and save me from my sin and the eternal judgment that awaits me. I trust in Your sacrifice for my sins and ask You to do Your miraculous work in my heart. Please remove my old sinful self and make me a new creation on the inside. Help me to follow You all my days upon this earth and to be ready when You call me home to Heaven. Amen.