by Richard DeFord
Marshall Ministerial Alliance
We have all heard this phrase and perhaps we have even said it ourselves. When asked, "Will you go to heaven when you die," the answer is often, "I hope I have been good enough." But when is good just not enough? The Bible makes it very clear that there is no one righteous, not even one person except Jesus Christ. It also says that all have sinned and fallen short of God's standard. So in light of this truth as found in God's word, can you be good enough to go to heaven?
Let's look at God's standard of holiness, the 10 commandments. Most have heard of these either through Sunday school or the movie by that title starring Charlton Heston. Perhaps you have heard of them more recently in the news as the ACLU has sought to remove them from our courtrooms, as if people would actually read them and obey them. These 10 commandments are the measuring stick by which we determine God's standard. They are commandments, not suggestions.
"Thou shalt not lie" is just one of the 10. Have you ever told a lie? Even one lie makes you a breaker of this commandment and I believe that all have lied, including me. That makes us all liars in the eyes of God and his word says that all liars will have their part in the lake of fire.
"Thou shalt not steal" is another one of the 10 commandments. Have you ever stolen anything? What about a pencil or pen from work or from a friend? Of course you have. But the breaking of this law judges us as a thief.
We are guilty of breaking every single one of these commandments from failing to worship God the way he deserves, to dishonoring our parents, to adultery. Jesus said that if you look at a woman with lust, you have committed adultery with her in your heart. And of course, this applies to women and their thoughts of men as well.
Yet some would say, "I just figure God will forgive me when I get to the judgment." Let me explain this way. If someone stole a car and killed a child in the process, what would the community say if the judge just forgave this wrong? We would call that judge unjust and would demand his or her removal. Our God is a just God. He must punish our sin.
That is why Jesus Christ died on the cross. He received punishment for your sins and mine. He was the blood sacrifice required by the law for forgiveness of sins. Through our acceptance of this gift, this sacrifice, you can stand before a Holy Judge with your sins paid in full. John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish by have everlasting life!"
The key to heaven is not in hoping you are good enough. It is not in the unsure gospel of self righteousness. The key to heaven can only be found in the abiding, saving love of a God who made a way for your sins to be forgiven. This is why the gospel is good news! The forgiveness of God is not dependent on how good or how bad you were in your past, it is dependent on your debt with God being paid in full by accepting the payment, Jesus Christ. Won't you believe in Christ and receive God's forgiveness today?