Led Zeppelin and AC/DC had two hit songs, Stairway to Heaven and Highway to Hell, that when meshing together their titles make up an appropriate song title combination we could call, Highway to Heaven (which, for us oldies, was also a semi-popular TV show). Isaiah 35:8 reads, “And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it.” Throughout chapter 35, Isaiah writes about the joy of the redeemed and describes how that looks in terms we can comprehend, at least partially, in conjunction with how Revelation 21 reveals what awaits the redeemed.
The highway called the Way of Holiness is what God describes for His elect as a destination that is known, heaven, but the journey along this highway to heaven is before us now. We take exits and pause at the rest stops of “sorrow and sighing” all while we await being overtaken by the “gladness and joy”(Isaiah 35:10) promised when we arrive. Once He calls us, we can take all the exits, get caught up at several rest stops, and get ourselves lost countless times, but a complete departure from His highway is never to be found. Eventually, through all of our meandering and misdirection, God will bring His redeemed to our destination regardless of our incidental pit stops and presumably planned travel itineraries.
As Paul preached in the synagogues for three months, boldly proclaiming the kingdom of God, he was led to leave them after their refusal to believe and public maligning of the Way persisted (Acts 19:8-9). This Way Luke writes of is, fittingly, the same Way of Holiness spoken of in Isaiah: Jesus Christ. Christ is the Way, the only way, to be granted entrance onto the Way of Holiness highway. Not only is He the key to the kingdom, but His teachings include directions once He gives us access to this highway. And when I write His teachings, I adamantly insist that the words He spoke are not confined to the red letters of our Bibles (see previous post Just love Jesus?).
At times, our pride can draw us away from seeking His directions. Other times, it’s definitely due to…our pride, once again, which comes in many hues. Once we understand that our salvation is secure (otherwise called justification), the journey begins (another otherwise known as sanctification). Even the freshest convert to Christianity knows that heaven is their final destination, but only the most seasoned Christians seek to be constantly sanctified through obedience to His directives until that destination is reached. Wherever we are at on that road, the exits are named and numbered to forewarn us of what may happen when we indulge in specific exit strategies. Whenever these exits are not intentionally chosen, but circumstances happen to us that drive us farther from keeping our eyes on Him, the unknown territories we unwillingly forge into also have concise directions offered for us to find our path back to His Way.
As we remind ourselves of the most foundational truth, that heaven awaits our arrival, that there is a highway there guiding us to eternal security, we can safely assume that until our eyes see this highway to heaven there will be the journey for us to walk in His Way while traveling. Of course, reaching the heaven where we dwell uninterrupted with our Father is an end worth the wait. However, as we wait for our salvation to come to fruition, how can we make the steps in between more glorifying to Him? Perhaps the answer to that question is as elementary as walking in the Way, that Way, His Way; this Way He paved for us and made for us that leads straight to Him.