Good people go to heaven.
That seems to be the prevailing view, doesn’t it? Just live a good life, try not to commit a terrible crime, and hopefully God will be merciful and you will get into heaven.
Or maybe you want to believe that pretty much everyone makes it to heaven. Naturally, people like Hitler would be excluded. And maybe a few others would be excluded, but otherwise everyone gets in.
Question. What if that’s not actually the standard?
Kinda like studying hard for English for nights on end only to realize that your next exam is actually math. English isn’t going to help you much except to say the words “Oh this really stinks” when you realize what’s happening.
The Bible itself never says that good works get us into heaven.
If you asked ten people how good you have to be, you might get 10 different answers, which doesn’t help anyone set a standard.
Your views keep changing. What you thought was ‘good enough’ when you were a teenager is not what you think ‘good enough’ is today – so which standard was right?
Jesus didn’t seem to care whether people were good or not. He said prostitutes and criminals would be in heaven with him.
Today, take some time to read Romans 3: 23-25. There IS a different standard (we’ll look at it in detail tomorrow).
What would change in your life if you finally realized you didn’t have to be good in order to earn God’s favour?
Belong – Because you can belong before you believe.
Jesus didn’t invite you to spend time with him because you were good. He invited you to spend time with him because he loves you. Think about that.
Believe – Because those who belong often start to believe.
If you think you have to clean up your act a little more before you believe, think again. Your good works have nothing to do with your salvation. (And that’s good news.)
Become – Because those who believe can become someone new.
People don’t change in order for God to love them; we change because God loves us. What might change in your life today because of God’s deep love for you?
Dear God, help me to appreciate how radical the message of salvation through Jesus is. Help me to realize that it’s not about how good I am, but about how good you are. In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.
– by Carey Nieuwhof