News and Views
Friday, September 14, 2012
I am not good enough to get to heaven. You are not good enough to get to heaven. No one in the whole world alive today is good enough to get to heaven. With one notable exception, no one who ever lived or ever will live is good enough to get to heaven. Good simply does not make it, or as Isaiah wrote in chapter 64 verse 6, "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like a wind our sins sweep us away." (NIV)
However, I know that I will spend eternity in heaven. Many of you know that you will spend eternity in heaven. Heaven will also be populated by many who have gone before us, and by many who will come after us. Heaven will have a vast population, and not one of them will get there because they were good. Those who enjoy heaven will do so, not because of what they did in their life on earth, but because of who they chose to know while they were alive on earth. Access to heaven truly is a matter of who you know.
That one notable exception, the one person who lived his life with his will perfectly aligned with the will of God the Father, was Jesus Christ, God with us, Son of God and Son of Man. Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6 NIV) Jesus also said, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16 NIV) In the first 10 verses of Ephesians 2, Paul summarizes the human situation without Christ Jesus and what God does through Jesus, including the verse which was so important to Martin Luther, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast." (Eph. 2:8-9 NIV) Clearly, it is God who has done everything necessary for God and humans to be reconciled and live together, here and in eternity, in a relationship of mutual love. All we have to do is to truly want Him, to truly want to live in relationship with Him, to accept His wonderful free gift of forgiveness and relationship with Him. This acceptance of all He has done for us also includes turning away from doing what we want to do and seeking to truly know God and His will so that we can align our will with His will and do what He wants.
As human beings we would like to think that we can be reconciled to God by means of our own efforts. Or we would like to think that God loves us all so much that He will forgive us and give us a free pass no matter how rebellious our attitude toward Him. Or we would like to think that we are all okay with Him except for a few really horrible offenders such as serial killers who torture their victims and are totally unforgiveable. Or we would like to think that the human intellect and human wisdom have made belief in God an unnecessary thing of the past, so ignore Him or claim He and heaven do not exist. With the help of our very real spiritual enemy we have come up with all these and more ways of defying God's plan for reconciliation between God and humans.
I know that I am not good enough to get to heaven. Even now, as I live in relationship with God through Jesus Christ through having accepted that Jesus paid the penalty for my wrong-doing, my rebellion against God's will, my sin, as He hung on the cross, and as I seek to know Him better and to align my will with His will, I know that I am not good enough to get to heaven. It is because He has done it all that I can know that I am forgiven and will be in heaven, and how wonderful that will be--to live in His glorious presence and know Him better and better forever. Bowing to Jesus while here on earth gives us the best quality of life here and the joy of heaven forever, the best and most certain hope you or I or anyone can have. Believe!
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