At 12.30 p.m. on the 14th of October 1959, I boarded a British United Airways plane at Lungi airport in Sierra Leone for Accra Ghana,
where I joined the East Africa Airways plane for Entebbe in Uganda.
Prior to that date I had been accepted for Postgraduate studies at Makerere University, my admission letter reached me rather late, and as term had begun, my research director wanted me to come at once.
I contacted the immigration department in Freetown who sent a cablegram to Ugandan Immigration authorities asking them for permission to issue an entry permit to me. After three weeks of waiting, I still had no reply.
After thinking the whole matter all over and discussing with friends, it was decided that I should start on the journey at once in the hope that on presenting my case to the immigration authorities in Kampala, I would be allowed into Uganda.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
On that day as I joined the plane, there was fear in my heart as to what would be the reaction of the immigration officers in Kampala. I tried to comfort myself saying that the worst they could do would be to send me back.
I was further comforted when I found three other men in the plane going to East Africa without entry permits. They told me that they intended having these on arrival there. So, I said to myself, “you are not alone”.
I got my letter of admission well placed together and told myself that these will enable me to have a hearing at the very least.
Despite all these, there was fear in my heart. I was afraid of facing the end of my journey and wished that the journey could be made longer. The plane was of no help to me as we were flying at top speed. Every second brought me nearer the dreaded end.
Finally, I heard the words, “we shall be landing at Entebbe airport in a few minutes time. Fasten your seat belt. No smoking” I immediately turned to my three companions and said to them, “we have arrived at last”. To my great disappointment, they told me that Addis Ababa was their port of disembarkment and not Entebbe. I was left alone to face the future.
WHERE IS YOUR ENTRY PERMIT?
I disembarked and went to the checkpoint, and the officer-in-charge asked me, “where is your entry permit?”
I pulled out my admission papers and showed him, but he was not interested in these. He was only interested in my passport and kept opening its pages in search of the seal that authorized me to enter Uganda. When I told him that a cablegram had been sent and that my supervisor wanted me to come at once, he told me that these were my private stories and did not interest him. “All I want to see is your entry visa” he said. Finally, he told me “go to the Chief Immigration Officer in Kampala and explain why you should not be declared an unwanted immigrant.”
TWO POSSIBLE DESTINIES
Thinking of this incident, I find that many people fit into these circumstances. Life is a journey. At death, two possible eternal futures are opened to us, viz., either life with Jesus Christ in heaven or life away from Jesus Christ in hell. Heaven will be a wonderful place of joy and happiness with Christ while hell will be a place of terrible suffering with the devil.
By our sinful natures that practice sin in thought, word and deed, we deserve hell. No one is exempt because as the Bible says, “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”, (Roman 3:23). On our own, we have entry permits into hell and none for heaven.
GOD’S ENTRY PERMIT
God loves us so dearly that He does not want us to go to hell. For this reason, He sent Jesus Christ, His Son, to die in our place and raised Him again from the dead. Because payment for our sin was paid by Christ, God is giving FREE entry permits into heaven through Jesus Christ to anyone who is willing to accept it. In fact, God has handed over the whole business of giving entry permits to Christ, and this is quite fair because Jesus Christ is the only one who is qualified to do that job. His qualification lies in the fact that He came from heaven to earth and has returned to heaven.
The Bible says, “No man has gone up to heaven but he that came down from heaven, that is the Son of Man (Jesus Christ) who is in heaven” (John3:13); “the Father judges no man but has committed all judgement into the hands of the Son,” (John 5:22); “for there is one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all,” (1Timothy2:5-6), “For there is salvation in no other, for there is no other name under heaven given unto men by which we must be saved” (Acts4:12) Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:6) Jesus is the God appointed Immigration Officer of heaven.
There are many philosophies, religions and systems guessing what the entry qualifications into heaven are. They, therefore, manufacture false entry permits based on the guesses. But all such entry permits will be found by the authorities of heaven to be false, and those with them cast away into the lake of fire. Do not be deceived.
YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN
It is not enough to know that God has made valid entry visas for entry into heaven available to every human being in the Lord Jesus. Many people know this yet they have not done anything about it. Some are comfortable and say, “I am not alone, I have companions who like me are continuing in sin. We shall be many in hell and that will make the punishment less severe.”
This is very foolish thinking. On my journey to Kampala I had thought that I had other companions, but when the crucial moment arrived, I was left alone to face Ugandan authorities. Even if your companions are continuing with you in sin at the moment, they may repent along life’s way and leave you alone to face the end. On the other hand, even if they should go to hell with you, there will be no community in life there. All people in hell will be isolated from God and from each other permanently so that they may fully suffer for their sin. You act wisely if you decide to receive God’s entry permit now.
RECEIVING GOD’S ENTRY PERMIT
God’s entry permit into heaven is embodied in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. When you receive Jesus Christ into your life as your Lord and Saviour, He immediately and automatically gives you a valid and free entry permit into heaven. There are four things to do in receiving Christ. Let us represent them by the letter ACTA.
Admit that you are a sinner. Tell God that you have sinned in word, thought and deed. Do not try to justify your sins, but admit to God that if He sent you to hell, He would be justified
Confess all your sins to Jesus. Name them to Him one after another leaving none out. Include those that were committed years ago that you can remember. Beg him to forgive you.
Turn from your sins to Jesus. Before now you went your own way and this is sin. Turn from now on and go the Jesus way. If you stole, steal no more, if you have been committing fornication and/or adultery, do not do it again. Decide to love Jesus with your whole heart.
Ask Jesus to come into your heart right now. Pray a prayer like this, “Lord Jesus, I am sinful and Lost. Forgive me. Come into my life and give me an entry permit into Heaven. Amen.”