Weekly Devotional 7-18-16
Goodness, the Doorway Into Heaven, Or Not
What qualifies a person for heaven? I have heard that question asked many times of people and I have asked it myself. Perhaps you have asked it of someone. The response that I mostly receive is, “Well I think I have been good enough, I have not really hurt anyone” or “I often think of God and try to honor Him in my conduct of life.” Said persons hold that the good things they have done outweigh whatever bad they have done and hope that God will accept them on that basis. Such a belief is sad, very sad. Because the Bible declares that in God’s eyes there is no one who measures up to the standard that opens heaven’s door. Consider for instance what the apostle Paul, by direction of God, wrote in his letter to the Christians of the Roman church; “9What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. 10As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one; 11There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. 12They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.’ ‘13Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit’; The poison of asps is under their lips’; ‘14Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.’ ‘15Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16Destruction and misery are in their ways; 17And the way of peace they have not known.’ ‘18There is no fear of God before their eyes’” (Romans 3:9-18 NKJV).
In this letter Paul has been addressing the lost condition of both Jews and Gentiles; the lost condition of those Jews who superficially worshipped true God and those Gentiles who worshipped many gods before regeneration. Paul writes that in God’s view neither stood righteous before Him, nor could they. The Jews were depending on the Mosaic Law which did nothing to change their hearts, and the Gentiles or Greeks, if they believed in heaven or not, were depending on their own humanistic philos-ophies of life. We should note Paul’s emphatic words that there are none who are righteous, none who understand, and none who seek God, there are none who do good. In fact Paul writes that “there is no fear of God before their eyes” (vs. 18). Having no fear of God evidences that man doesn’t fully comprehend the holiness of God or the separation that exists between God and man.
Because of sin, man cannot be in the presence of holy God; in that all have sinned every person in his unregenerate state falls short of His glory. Thus, heaven does not depend on one’s goodness. No number of good works can bridge the gap. God’s assessment has always been, “There is none who does good, no, not one” (Romans 3:12b).
In his letter to the Ephesians Paul wrote; “1And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”(Ephesians 2:1-10 NKJV).
It wasn’t man’s goodness that moved God, it was His love for man. Men in fact are dead toward God until God gives them spiritual life.
Jesus tells us by way of His conversation with Nicodemus; “16For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17 NKJV). Do you see it? If man could qualify to enter heaven because of his own supposed goodness, Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, would not have been sacrificed.
In closing, this question must be asked. How is it possible for one to claim that he understands that he is a sinner separated from God, but holds that in himself he is good enough to be qualified for heaven? Separation means separation. One cannot be separated from God yet be acceptable to Him at the same time.
Transforming Power; The Work of God on Behalf of Man