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Good Enough for Heaven?
If you’re wondering about a list of “good” to do to get into heaven, you’re asking the wrong question. Jesus himself says, “…Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” Matthew 19:17 Paul also said of himself, "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not." Romans 7:18
If you were not promised a reward of heaven, would you still be a Christian? Are you a Christian because you want eternal life? Are you a good Christian because you want God to save you? Are you bargaining with God to get to heaven? Are you working “goodness” on your way to heaven? Is your thinking: I did this, so I get this.
“You can’t get something, for nothing.” Not only in religions but all aspects of life has this reasoning: you need money to buy goods; “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.”
Israel was surrounded by pagan worship, and when God sets apart the Israelites to be His people, he cautions them not to follow in pagan worship. “And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD.” Leviticus 18:21 “Then he [Moabite King] took his eldest son that should have reigned in his stead, and offered him for a burnt offering upon the wall. And there was great indignation against Israel: and they departed from him, and returned to their own land.” 2 Kings 3:27
Do you see a similarity with the human sacrifices of these worshipers, with your sacrifice of “goodness?” We may not sacrifice overtly, but are you in other ways bargaining with your God? God cautions the Israelites not to follow in their pagan neighbor’s ways, but unfortunately, the Israelites fall away many times. As we also do, today.
Why be Good?
What do you consider “good?” Jesus and Paul say, there is no goodness in us—only God is good. Helping the poor, healing the sick, giving food to the hungry—we don’t do these because we’re good. "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." Philippians 2:13
“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48 “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” 1 john 4:6
What does perfection mean? Father=perfect, Father=love: perfect=love.
“…Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.” Luke 10:27
Love God, love others. That is all it takes to be “perfect.”
Love God, Love Others
It’s so easy to love family and friends. These are the people who love us, and we love them back. Do we get along with all family? Would we still be friends with people who hate us? (Are we bargaining with our loved ones?!)
But what about God? How easy is it to love someone we can’t even see? "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?" 1 John 4: 20
“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.” 1 John 4: 16, 17
If you don’t know God, get to know Jesus. "If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him." John 14:7
Get to know Jesus. Learn who He is and whom He represents. You can read more on Why I need Jesus? And how to get to know Him.
Salvation by Grace
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Ephesians 2:8 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
The promise of salvation was given even before the creation of Adam and Eve. God didn’t watch Adam eat the fruit and plan for Jesus to die on the cross. He is omniscient, he knew of the Adam’s fall even before the creation of the earth. “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:” Isaiah 46:10 Salvation is a gift that he knew we would need and gives to us.
“And he said unto me, my grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
You don’t have to do anything to get to heaven, just trust in God’s promise. "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:" 2 Corinthians 9:8
“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:19 God wants to reunite with us. Heaven is not a reward for our behavior; heaven is a home where God wants us to return.
Do you want to go home?