Tomorrow at Grace we will have communion together, and as we do this we are proclaiming Jesus' death until he returns (1 Cor. 11:26). As we consider the death of Jesus it is important for us to keep in mind that he did not die to buy us heaven. Don't panic, and please keep reading.
Consider Titus 2:14 where Paul says Jesus "gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works." Jesus did not die on the cross to buy us heaven, but to buy us! His death is our redemption because by it he has purchased for himself people from every tribe, tongue and nation (Rev. 5:9). In purchasing us he secured our eternity with God, but that eschatological (final) aspect of our salvation is not the whole. In the verse quoted above Paul explained that Jesus died for us to purchase us from our rebellion and its consequences and to purify us for himself, making us zealous for good works. Let that sink in a bit.
Jesus died on the cross, not just so we could go to heaven, but so that we would be pure and hungry for good works in this life. Sometimes we so emphasize one truth we miss another. In this case it is easy to only think of Jesus' death as the means by which we are forgiven, and not the means by which we are changed. It is common to think of the cross as that which puts us at peace with the Father, but not as common to see that part of Jesus' aim in dying was to make us a different kind of people in this life. In all of it, the present and the future, Jesus redeems us for his own pleasure and glory. We'll spend more time on this tomorrow.
God help us to see all that you have done for us, and all that you desire of us through Jesus Christ.