Before we move on from this topic, I just wanted to address one final issue…
If you were to ask several people, “Are you a good person?” You would not be surprised to find that nearly everyone speaks of themselves with glowing (even if only slightly) terms. In fact, the response, “I’m a good person,” is the standard response to another question you might ask: “Why should you be allowed into heaven when you die?”
The following response is often typical: “Let me tell you something… I’m a GOOD person. I chose my job to help people. I am also always there when I have friends in need, whether it’s money, listening, or helping them out with something. And because of that, at the end of the day when I look back, I feel good about myself! I’m not perfect, sometimes I screw up, sometimes I can be mean to people… but it’s never out of just wanting to hurt them…”
So many people have the notion that as long as our intentions are (usually) good, and we don’t try to hurt people, and we try to help people as much as we can (giving of our time and resources). We think that all those things make a person “heaven-worthy.” In other words, Trying to do good things… makes us good people. And good people… go to heaven.
But, here is the significant problem. The Bible tells us that God’s requirement for entrance into heaven is not based upon our goodness… at all. His requirement is perfection. And the only way to be perfect is to receive what Jesus has done. The reason Jesus came was to give His life, so that we might share in His. Jesus’ life is perfect. His sacrifice is perfect – and, by receiving what He has done for us, we are made perfect in God’s sight. “For by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” (Hebrews 10:14) ONLY Jesus’ good work merits heaven for us. And we must surrender this whole notion of earning God’s favor by our own merits, and trust in His efforts alone. This is WHY Jesus is the ONLY road to God.
So why do so many people actually believe that doing good things (trying to be a good person) will merit God’s favor?
It is the downside of the God Imprint within us. Because we have an inner desire to do good things for people, we can convince ourselves that by doing (some of) those things that we are decent people. Our attraction to good things (right things) can mislead us into thinking we are better (more deserving of God) than we are. Couple this with the mistaken idea that doing a few “good” things outweighs the bad we have done – and we have a recipe for self-justification. And there is always someone that we know, to whom we can compare ourselves most favorably.
But, God does not grade on the curve. We do not gain heaven because our “good” is better than someone else’s. There is no scale in heaven where good is weighed against bad to determine our eternal destiny.
There is only Jesus. He alone can gain us entry into heaven. And only those whose hearts are devoted to Him can rest assured of their eternal home.
We each have the God Imprint within us to verify the reality of God’s existence. It is the inside information that cannot be explained by any other means. But it is there, not just to lead us to try and live moral lives… it is there to cause us to seek out the One Who put it there. And to cause us to discover His story of love and redemption, which He displayed openly through His Son – sent to make us all the objects of His immeasurable love and attention.
Prayer focus: God, help me to live my life in the fullness of what You desire to do through me.