I Good Enough for Heaven?
I encourage you, before you read this, to write
down the names of two people who you are intentionally trying to
share Jesus with. And if you are not at the moment, then two names
of people that you are going to be intentional about sharing God
with. Starts with praying for them, building relationships and
the right to speak into their lives, praying for opportunities
and then taking them... but if you are not intentional it is not
going to happen by mistake. Who are your two people?
AM I GOOD ENOUGH FOR HEAVEN?
The thing that got me thinking on that one, is because I have
heard so many people try using that reasoning when it comes to
salvation and 'making it' into Heaven. Reaching for something that
will make the target a little more personally achievable. Interestingly
enough it is often not so much for themselves as for their family
and friends who are not Christians.
To be honest, I have met few people in
life who state that their own sin is negligable in terms of them
getting into Heaven. I have met quite a lot more who plead on
the behalf of a parent or a best friend or prominent person they
have observed, because 'surely that person is too good to go
to Hell?' In fact I know a couple of people who struggle with
making a personal commitment to God and Christianity purely on
the basis that they know too many people who would be condemned
to Hell by their belief in a sense if what they believe turns
out to be true. "I can't be a Christian
because a God who would make my mom go to Hell can't be all that
loving." Statements like that are very much around when people
are trying to make sense of this whole Heaven-Hell concept.
I think the problem is that people are too often caught up in
the wrong debate and I hope that this thort will help clear up
some of that. The question that non-Christians are often posing
(and sadly even Christians sometimes who seem a bit ignorant of
the truth) is the whole Good-Bad comparison. 'It's okay for someone
like Hitler or a serial killer to go to Hell because they are bad'
vs 'It's not okay for my gran or my best friend at school to go
to Hell because they are not nearly as bad.'
If it came down to the goodness or badness of people then the
whole 'Yes or No' access into Heaven question would become a subjective
one and we could possibly throw ourselves at God's mercy and hope
that when the comparison is made, we (or our loved one) don't turn
out to be as bad as the next person. Some kind of comparative Heaven
'entry-system' that looks at our lives and adjusts the conditions
depending on how good or bad we were.
Sadly it doesn't work that way. I believe that God gave me this
analogy a few years ago which is one of the best ways I've come
across of explaining the whole access into heaven thing. I call
it the analogy of the beep-beep machine. You know the one they
have at airports that goes beep when you walk through it if you
have some kind of metal on you? I have since then realised that
it is probably also known as a metal-detector of some type but
for the interests of my particular brand of Science I am going
to stick with 'beep-beep machine'.
Pop Quiz – I wake up in the morning of my flight to the
UK and get dressed in my metal underpants. I put on my suit of
armour. I pick up my rucksack which is loaded with metal. I put
every bunch of keys I own in various pockets in the suit of armour.
I have my walkman on and I fill my shoes up with iron filings and
set off for the airport. As I walk through the beep-beep machine,
what happens? IT GOES OFF! Absolutely correct – didn't even
have to phone a friend. The beep-beep machine goes off – alarms
are sounded – the guards have me pulled to the side and examined
faster than you can say 'raisins are not that nice' and I have
Pop Quiz II – Now how about this
one? I arrive at the airport wearing appropriate clothing. My
bags are free of any kind of metal possible. I hand my set of
car and house keys to my buddy who drove me here. And I am metal-free.
EXCEPTING for that little tiny four millimeter by two millimeter
metal plate that I had inserted into my tiny pinkie finger after
a tragic tricycle accident I had when I was three. What happens?
IT GOES OFF!
And here's the thing... it doesn't matter if I have kilograms
of metal or if I have the smallest almost unnoticeable amount of
metal, the beep-beep machine will go off! And I'm sure you can
see where I am heading with this, but let's go there anyways.
That's how it is with sin. The question
is never how much or how little sin do you have in your life.
Read Romans 6:23 "For
the wages of sin is death..."
Not the wages of some sin. Not the wages
of a lot of sin. Not the wages of just really bad sin. But the
wages of all sin is death. And Romans 3:23 reminds us (because
we really don't need to be persuaded too much on this one) that "all have sinned and
fall short of the glory of God." - so we have all sinned and
therefore, according to the Bible, we are all heading for death!
Kind of a bleak picture really. But it's
the truth. God has said it and it really doesn't take me believing
it or not to make it the truth. "My way", says God, "there is no highway
option." That is the way it stands... and why is that? Because
God is mean and loves to hurt people? Not at all! It's because
He is holy and cannot tolerate sin. God can never give sin the
thumbs up and say that it's okay because that is not in His character.
Sin has to be dealt with and the way to deal with sin is through
And if the story ends there it is rather a somber one. But it
doesn't. That's just where it starts to get exciting. Yes, God
has decreed that sin is punished by death because of His holiness.
But because of His awesome Love for His creation, He has made a
way for someone else to carry that death in my place. In your place.
In your grandmother or friend's place.
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son that
whosoever believes in Him would not perish, but have eternal life." (John
And so, going back briefly to the beep-beep machine, the question
is never how much or how little sin you have in your life. The
question is 'Has your sin been dealt with?' and because Jesus came
to earth as the only sinless being in history ever, He was able
to pay the cost as a substitute for us.
And so, to answer my title, being good can not get you into Heaven.
Doing your best and being generally nice to people and animals
cannot get you into Heaven. Only having had your sin dealt with
can get you into Heaven. And that can ONLY happen through Jesus'
death on the cross.
John 14:6 'Jesus answered, "I am
the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father
except through Me!."
The last point I must make on this is
that Jesus' has made the offer of substituting for your sin.
But for that to be valid, you still have to accept it. That is
the step of faith of what it means to become a Christian. As
stated in John 1:12 "Yet to all
who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the
right to become children of God."
So you have that bunch of metal in your hands... and you're walking
up towards the beep-beep machine completely aware that there is
no way you can walk through it without it going off... and you
see a man next to the machine offering to take care of your metal
so that you can walk through unaffected... Pop Quiz... What do
you do? What do YOU do?
Maybe put those two names of people you thort about or wrote down
somewhere where you will see them often (mirror, in bible, in fridge?)
so that you are constantly reminded to pray for them and look for