A ruler questioned Him saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Luke 18:18
Through the years I think everyone has asked that question and there are a lot of different answers to it. While I can’t claim to know for certain the one true answer, remember I am not a theologian, I can tell you what Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not bear false witness, honor your father and mother.'” And he said, “All these I have kept since my youth.” When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” Luke 18:19-22 The man hadn’t broken a single commandment in his entire life, he was a “good person”, and yet he still “lacked one thing”. That one thing was a relationship with Jesus.
So many people think that being a good person and doing good things is enough to declare them worthy. No one is completely sinless and deserving of heaven (Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God). There is NOTHING you can DO to earn a ticket to heaven.
Romans 4:24-25 says: but for our sake also, to whom it will be credited, as those who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification. You see, it’s kind of like each one of us has our own spiritual credit card. Every time we sin it “rings up” a debt that has to be paid before we can get into heaven. Because Psalm 5:4 tells us: For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; no evil dwells with You. While still sinful we cannot live in heaven with God because we have no way to pay that debt. Nothing we DO can ever change the balance.
However, God loves us and He made a way. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16) For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15) Jesus lived a completely sinless life -zero balance on his “card”, and yet He CHOSE to die on the cross to pay for all of our sins. (He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21) When Jesus died He paid our debt, the whole thing. It’s like; He called the credit card company, requested a balance transfer, and said “I’ll pay it all for them.” So here we stand today with a balance on our cards and Jesus on the phone saying He’ll pay it all off IF we want Him to. Hmmmmm…. let me think; zero balance on my sin card AND eternal life filled with His love…. Um, YEAH! I’ll take that deal.
Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” (John 14:2-6 emphasis mine) Jesus is THE way to God the Father in heaven. He didn’t say that He was ONE of the ways; He is THE ONE AND ONLY WAY. We don’t get to heaven by who we are or what we’ve done. We are forgiven and able to go to heaven because of who JESUS is and what JESUS has done. Period. If you don’t believe me, look it up for yourself, it’s all right there in black and white and red.
You see it’s all about belief:
[ ] Do you believe in God the Father?
[ ] Do you believe in Jesus His Son?
[ ] Do you believe that Jesus is the only way to the Father?
[ ] Do you believe that Jesus died for you on the cross?
[ ] Do you believe that His death was enough to pay for your sins?
[ ] Are you sorry for the sins that you have committed in the past?
[ ] Have you prayed and asked forgiveness for those sins?
[ ] Have you prayed and accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross as payment for those sins?
[ ] Have you prayed and asked the Holy Spirit to come live in your heart and help you not to purposefully sin in the future?
[ ] Does someone else know about your commitment to God yet?
If you answered yes to all of the above then you are a beloved Child of God and fellow follower of Christ. I look forward to meeting you in heaven my sister.
However, this is not the end, this is just the beginning! It’s the beginning of a NEW YOU, a NEW LIFE in Christ. One where Christ lives through you and you – love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (Matthew 22:37). To do that, you love your spouse more than you love yourself. Because love requires sacrifice & love requires obedience.
In John 3:36 it says that Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. Notice, the words translated “does not obey”, in the original Greek is apeitheo and is defined by Thayer: “to refuse belief and obedience”. With the meaning of this one word, all of salvation is explained. Belief and obedience are tied together as one. To believe in Jesus is to obey him! We’ll go over this a little more tomorrow.
I used to work with a guy that said he thought he would go to heaven because he “lived a good life”. Sure, he was a good guy. He donated a little to charity. He helped people when he could. However, he didn’t have Christ in his heart. He also didn’t go to church or tithe. I asked him, once, why he didn’t go to church. His answer? “I like to sleep in on weekends.” I tried to explain that there were services throughout the day, even in the evenings. He explained that he was “too busy”. I worked with this man for almost two years and could never convince him that “leading a good life” wasn’t enough to get into heaven. He was living with Jesus as his savior, but not as his Lord. You have to live your life according to God, for Jesus to be your savior.
It scares me to think about all the people in this world that think leading a good life will get them into heaven. If I had longer time to work with and minister to my co-worker, I might have brought him to Christ (I like to think that I could have anyway). However, my work time with him was cut short, and I had to move on.
I’m praying that the change this fast has made in me will lead my friends, derby buddies, and coworkers to Christ. I pray that they will see me living with Jesus as my Lord and not just my Savior and want the same things that are happening to me.