Although I am not a golfer, I have a friend who regularly sends me devotionals from “Links Players,” a ministry to golfers. The devotional I share below, written by Tim Philpot, makes an excellent point about the name that will be on our lips when one day we appear before the Lord.
Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11, NLT)
Recently a dear friend called to chat. It did not take long to get to the point of his call. He tried to be humble, but pride was oozing from the phone. He had received an invitation to play Augusta National Golf Club.
He will fly on a private jet to Augusta for an overnight and 36 holes. He expected me to be happy for him. I tried. I really did.
Naturally, I responded with, “How did you get on?”
The answer was simple. He spoke the name of a member.
I was reminded of a trip to New Jersey many years ago. I wanted to just quickly visit Pine Valley, perhaps buy something from the pro shop. I drove up to the gate. The gate attendant politely asked, “Are you here with a member?”
“No, sir. I just wanted to look around.”
“I am sorry, sir. Members and guests only,” he said with a smile. I needed a name.
Shortly thereafter, I arrived at Muirfield Village in Ohio. At the gate, I simply said, “I am here with Ivor Young.” The gates swung wide open without a blink. I had the right name. Ivor was a founding member and a dear friend of Jack Nicklaus.
So, what is the point of these stories? I hope you understand that you will need a name at the gates of heaven. That name, of course, is Jesus Christ.
Sadly, many golfers mention his name only after a chunked wedge or another sliced drive.
And just as sad, many people arrive at the gates of heaven with a useless speech about how good they have been on their earthly journey. They mistakenly believe that eternal life is determined by some balancing act of good deeds and bad deeds.
But imagine trying to get onto one of these private courses just because you are “good.” Would you drive down Magnolia Lane and expect to play Augusta National because you are a scratch golfer? They would laugh at you for such absurdity. Likewise, the key to heaven will not be your goodness. It will be a name. The only name. Jesus Christ.
Peter said it clearly. “For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). All the power of the universe stands behind that name. Our eternal destiny depends upon that name.
Jesus Christ has the “key of David,” which opens the door of heaven. So, “what he opens, no one can close; and what he closes, no one can open” (Revelation 3:7). He holds the key. Don’t forget it.