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In the end of the book of Revelation, we have described to us the New Jerusalem, the abiding place of the redeemed.  We read in Revelation 21:23-27, “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”  Without a doubt, we see here that nothing that brings defilement will be allowed in the presence of God.  Only absolute perfection will be in that Holy City.  Only those things that are perfectly holy will be allowed into Heaven.  To answer your question, yes, you must be holy before you can enter Heaven.  Your name must be written in the Lamb’s book of life.

In the New Testament, the Greek word for holy is ‘hagios’, which means sacred, pure, or morally blameless.  This word is used many times in the Bible…over 200 times.  Each time this word ‘hagios’ is used, it is translated either ‘holy’ or it is translated ‘saints’.

As one example, let’s read 1 Corinthians 1:1-2, “Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.”  These saints, or holy ones, are described as those that “call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.”  We learn in Romans 10:13 that, “…whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  So, we see that those who call upon the name of the Lord are saved; they are saints; they are holy.  In Colossians 3:12, the believers are called, “holy and beloved.”  In Hebrews 3:1, the believers are called, “holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling.”

In Ephesians 5:25-27 we read that, “…Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”  It is Christ that has made us holy and without blemish.  No one can become holy by their own merits.  No one can earn holiness.  It is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who loved and gave Himself for us that causes us to become holy.  2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”  God made the Lord Jesus, that one who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.  What an incredible truth!  Sinners, through the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus, can become the very righteousness of God.  To those who have put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we read in Ephesians 2:19, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.”  Speaking of the Lord Jesus, Colossians 1:20-22 tells us, “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.  And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled  In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.”

Because believers are saints, or holy ones, and righteous, the Lord calls us to live lives of practical holiness.  1 Peter 1:15-16 says, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”  In other words, if you have been made holy through faith in the Lord Jesus, let that holiness be seen in your life.  In the sight of God, you are sacred, pure, and morally blameless.  Let those characteristics been seen in your life.  This is what the Lord has called us to do.  (92.2)