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How good does one have to be to go to heaven?


These four biblical truths are discussed below:

1. No human is perfect, but God is.

2. Sin separates us from God.

3. The ten commandments reveal our imperfection.

4. Jesus Christ is the solution to the problem.

 

1. No human is perfect, but God is. Therefore, no person can enter God’s presence on his or her own merit. No person is good enough to go to heaven.

Psa 143:2 And do not enter into judgment with Your servant, For in Your sight no man living is righteous.

Eccl 7:20 Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.

Isa 64:6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment.

Rom 3:10 as it is written, "THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;

Ezek 33:17 "Yet your fellow citizens say, 'The way of the Lord is not right,' when it is their own way that is not right.

Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

It is sometimes difficult to understand why people we think of as "good" are not good enough to go to heaven. In reality, though, even a person who does many good things is still far from God’s holiness and perfection. Say that each person in the world was challenged to swim across the Pacific Ocean. Those who could not swim would drown close to shore. Olympic swimmers may make it several miles, but would also drown. Even the very best endurance swimmer could not come close to making it across the Pacific Ocean. Likewise, even the person who does more good deeds than anyone else, is far from God’s perfection.

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2. Sin separates us from God. It keeps us out of heaven, and prevents us from having a relationship with Him, robbing us of joy and contentment.

Isa 59:2 But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.

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3. The ten commandments reveal our imperfection. God gave the ten commandments—the Law—so that we would see that we fall short of His perfection and, therefore, need mercy and forgiveness instead of being judged on our thoughts, words, and actions. Consider, for example, the commandment Do not covet. Most people will admit that at some point in their life, they have wanted something that someone else had—their car, house, jacket, hair color, spouse, job, financial status, friends, body, education, parents. In God’s eye, the discontentment itself is sin, even if it does not lead to wrong words or actions.

Rom 3:20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. (NIV)

Gal 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM."

Gal 3:19,24 Why the Law then? 24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.

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4. Jesus Christ is the solution to the problem. Jesus did not abolish truth in bringing forgiveness to man. On the contrary, He fulfilled the Law. Picture God's perfect righteousness and justice on one side of a huge canyon, and human sinfulness on the other. Somehow each person needs to get to God, but gravity stands in the way--nobody can fly across the canyon. In this analogy, the Law serves to reveal to people that a huge canyon exists between God and man. Without the Law, we do not realize that we are sinful and thus separated from God. Jesus Christ is like a bridge extending across the canyon. The absolute truth of gravity still exists, but if we entrust our lives to Christ (walk across Him, the bridge), each of us can have access to God, be accepted by Him, and receive spiritual life.

Jesus is God’s gift of life to us. He not only provides the way to forgiveness for sin, but also gives us spiritual life, satisfying the discontentment of our hearts. All of us are guilty before God. The charge is sin. The penalty is death—separation from God forever. We can plead either guilty or innocent. If we plead innocent, we are judged on our thoughts, words, and actions. If we plead guilty, and ask for mercy through Christ, Christ’s death on the cross is accepted by God the Father as payment of our death penalty. We go free because Christ bore the penalty for us; He paid our debt. This is why the Bible describes Christ as a gift. Like any gift, we do not need to earn it; indeed we can’t. We merely receive it and say "thank you."

Rom 3:23-24 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus

Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 Pet 3:18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God

1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus

Rom 8:1,2 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

Gal 2:16 a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.

Eph 2:8,9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Titus 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit

1 John 4:9,10 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Could any person have died on a cross as a sacrifice for the sin of the human race? No. Only God Himself is a sufficient sacrifice. Although Jesus lived as a man on the earth, He was still God, and thus a sufficient sacrifice for our sin. Jesus Christ, the bridge, is the only way across the canyon:

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

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