I have met many people of late that are earning their eternal separation from God all the while believing they will be going to heaven.
Let me try to explain.
After getting to know someone, I like to ask them a very simple question. “If you were to pass away tonight and the Lord asked you, ‘Why should you be allowed into My heaven’, what would you say?”
The vast majority of people that I have had the opportunity to ask this question answer by giving me their resume’ of good works.
They attend church, they give, they serve, they’re basically good, they have confessed their sin, they’ve been baptized, they signed a card, raised their hand, went forward to an altar, they’ve completed their membership or catechism classes, I have heard about everything there is except the one thing that is required.
Ephesians 2:9 says,” Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”
A personal resume’ of good works is nothing more than boasting. Isaiah 64:6 says, “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags.”
So how is it that a person can actually enter the presence of the Lord and live in His heaven for all eternity?
John 3:18 says, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
I hope you have noticed that our judgment is based on what we believe about Jesus, not on what we have done.
Hebrews 9:22 says, “For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness.”
To enter God’s Most Holy Place we must offer a proper and acceptable blood sacrifice not a resume’
Hebrews 10:19-20 says, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place.”
Jesus’ work on the cross, His broken body and shed blood seems to be, according to the Holy Scripture, the ticket to salvation.
Ephesians 1:7 says, “He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.”
Next time I ask someone my simple question I’d like to hear them say, “I believe in, trust in, rely upon, cling to, adhere to and have placed my faith in the work of Jesus Christ and Him alone for my salvation.”
One last passage from Romans 8:1, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”
Maybe our attitudes and worship would change if we knew that our salvation depended upon the Lord and His work and not our own.
Pastor Thomas R. Swain
First Church of God