Ex NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg thinks he has earned his ticket to Heaven:
“But if he (Bloomberg) senses that he may not have as much time left as he would like, he has little doubt about what would await him at a Judgment Day. Pointing to his work on gun safety, obesity and smoking cessation, he said with a grin: “I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”
This lack of ignorance of the Gospel is bad enough for an individual but the reality is the majority of the world’s population thinks like this – The eternal afterlife is something that must be earned.
If that is the way God set up this Universe then you’d think there would be a book defining exactly how much ‘good’ needs to be performed to outweigh the ‘bad’ so we can frequently tally up our scorecard so that we stay on the passing side.
Most people believe the Bible is that book and believe that they must follow the general guidelines like those listed in Luke 6:31 (commonly referred to as “The Golden Rule”):
“Do unto others as you would have them do to you.”
If that was all we had of the Bible then I’d have to agree with them but again I have to ask – How much is enough?
If this was the system that God setup then it’s only fair to request a rulebook showing how our life will be scored. Do I just have to have more good deeds than bad? Is it more like 70/30? How much is enough?
Unfortunately for the ‘good works’ crowd, God did provide some guidance on this topic.
Rom 3:23 – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Mat 5:48 – “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
If you are counting on your good works to get your golden ticket to the afterlife then the Bible has some very bad news for you – You have been dealt a losing hand. A passing grade on your life’s deeds requires that you lead a perfect life (i.e ZERO sins). That revelation is bad enough but it gets worse when you realize that humans were created with a bent toward sinning so we are therefore all imperfect and fall woefully short of a passing grade.
Fortunately God provided a way out for us. He sent his Son to die for our sins on the cross and all we have to do is realize that we are indeed sinful and can do nothing to justify ourselves to the Creator and instead rely on the perfect sacrifice of the only true sinless person, Jesus, to pay for our sins (past, present and future).
The last words of Jesus on the Cross were “It is finished” and the Greek word used here was “tetelestai” and someone much wiser than I once told me we derive our English word “Total” from this word. What a fitting ending to the sacrifice Jesus paid on the cross – Our debt has been totaled up and paid in full!
So there is truly Good News for us! Our losing hand that we were dealt at birth is not our only hope at obtaining salvation:
Rom 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Eph 2:8-9 – “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”
What a miraculous gift! Heaven can’t be earned and we all deserve death and hell but though the sacrifice of Jesus and our acceptance of that free gift, we may obtain eternal life!
Any attempt to boast of your good deeds and equate those as justification for you getting into heaven is equivalent to saying that the death and resurrection of Jesus was a meaningless event. We obtain salvation ONLY because of the sacrifice of Jesus and nothing (NOTHING) we can do can add to that. It was sufficient. Tetelestai!
Share this Good News this week with someone who desperately needs it.