Welcome to the third and final response to the informal poll I took of my readers. In the first post, I responded to the question “Is God Sovereign?”, to which all of you responded that he was! In my second post I responded to the question “Must a person be chosen by God in order to come to Christ for salvation?”. There was a serious amount of division here, which I hope I have adequately addressed. So, in this post, I will be looking at the question “Why should God allow you to enter Heaven?”. Here we go…
The first option I presented for this question was “Because, I always follow His laws and He has declared that those who do so will enter Heaven.” I am very pleased to report that nobody chose this answer. I think it’s obvious to most Christians that we do not always follow God’s law. In fact, if we are really honest with ourselves, we would have to say that we rarely follow Gods law. I mean how many of us can honestly say that we have always “Loved the Lord our God with all our hearts, our minds, and our strength”? An equally difficult question is have you continuously loved your neighbor as yourself? None of us, if we are honest with ourselves, can answer affirmatively to either of those questions. However, if it were possible for you and I to have always kept the laws of God, he would absolutely accept us into Heaven. The problem is that we are born tainted by a sinful nature which is in constant rebellion against God. This is why Romans 3:23 says “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.
The third option I presented (clearly I will not be going in order) was “Because God is very loving, and I am a pretty good person. It would not be loving for him to reject me.” I am pleased to announce that even though many churches in America are teaching this message today, none of you voted for it. While it is true that God is Love (1 John 4:8), it is not true that we are good (Ephesians 2:1-3). It is also not true that God will be loving at the expense of his Justice. What do I mean by that? God is Love AND at the same time He is Just (Isaiah 61:8; 2 Thessalonians 1:6). He tells us in Jeremiah 17:10 “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” The problem here is that no matter how loving God is, his justice requires him to judge everyone according to their ways, and according to their deeds. We have already established that we failed to keep his law, and all have sinned and fallen short. Therefore, God cannot simply ignore our sins and lovingly accept us anyway lest he would become an unjust judge.
The fifth option I presented was “He shouldn’t and I don’t expect him to.” Very rarely do you run into someone who would agree with this statement, but it happens. I am glad to hear that none of my readers feel that this is the state their soul is in. Someone who answers yes to this question usually has a very clear understanding of God’s justice, but has not yet encountered the Gospel!
The sixth option I presented was “There is no God, there is no Heaven.” Since no one voted for this option, I will not be writing a response to it. This topic deserves it’s own series, not simply a paragraph or two. If you desire a response to this assertion, please feel free to contact me and let me know.
The second option I presented was “Because I have accepted Jesus as my Lord, and I have done and continue to do what his word requires of me” received 19% of your votes. Let’s consider what the scriptures have to say about this. I’ll begin with what I believe is the most popular scripture verse in the world John 3:16:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
What does this verse say is required for receiving eternal life? It requires simply that we “believe in him”. But you might say “Believing is not enough! There are things we must also do.” Yet, we find in Romans 4:3 that “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Righteousness is a key part of our salvation. Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 5:20 “unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” But the Pharisees and scribes were the most righteous people in Jesus day! Jesus was pointing us back to Abraham! It is faith in God, trusting in his promises that credits righteousness to our account. Nothing else. This is why Jesus and his apostles state over and over again that whoever believes in Jesus has eternal life! Biblical Christianity is not a matter of following rules in order to be righteous enough to stand before God. If you take that viewpoint, then you will always be doubting your salvation or be worried that you can lose it. You will always be wondering if you have done enough. You will always feel nagging guilt, and uncertainty because honestly, you haven’t done enough. Rather, put your trust in Jesus Christ as the one who perfectly lived out the law of God on your behalf! He did for you what you could not do on your own. Not only that, he also died on the cross in your place to settle the debt your sins against God had incurred! God’s wrath toward those who trust in the work of Christ has been propitiated by Christ! Isaiah 64:6 says “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” Don’t trust in your worthless righteous acts, trust in Christ! After all, the law of God was not given as a means of salvation, it was given to show us that we need a savior! (Galatians 3:24)
The fourth option I presented, and the last one to discuss, was “He shouldn’t and I deserve Hell but I trust in Jesus and his promise that all who trust in him will be saved.” Almost 81% of you knew this to be the correct answer!!! Praise God for his grace and mercy upon your lives. I think it has been made abundantly clear that we all fall short. We all deserve God’s wrath and there is nothing we can do about it. Therefore, God would be perfectly righteous to send each and every one of us to hell. That’s not his plan though. He sent Jesus to satisfy the demands of his Justice so that he could have mercy upon us! He initiated with us! He is the one who performed the work! For Ephesians 2:8-9 says “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Salvation in Christ comes as a gift from God and not by anything you can do!
If this is not the Gospel you believe, you are living under a false Gospel. There is only one Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and it is portrayed in the pages of the bible. A false Gospel can’t save you! Only faith in the finished work of Christ and looking to him instead of to anything you have done will result in salvation. If you are adding your work to his perfect work, you are only adding blemishes or filthy rags!
If you desire to learn more about this, start with the book of Romans in the Holy Bible. There you will find this Gospel plainly portrayed. As usual, if you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I eagerly desire to interact with you and help you wrestle with the word of God as you seek His truth!