Teaching: Good people cannot earn their way to Heaven. God only allows holy, perfect, flawless people to live in His presence.
Scriptures (look 'em up yourself):
1. Isaiah 64:6- Our best efforts are like filthy rags.
2. Romans 3:23- All of us sin & fall short of God's glorious standard.
3. Romans 3:10- There is none righteous, not even one.
4. James 2:10- If you keep the whole law, yet stumble in one area; you are guilty of breaking the whole law.
5. 1 John 1:10- If we say that we have not sinned, we make God out to be a liar & His word is not in us.
6. 1 John 1:8- If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves & the truth is not in us.
7. Psalm 15:1- Who may dwell with God? One who is blameless, without sin or fault.
8. 1 Peter 1:15-16- Be holy (pure, blameless) as I am holy. God is our standard of righteousness, not other people.
To say you are good & are somehow good "enough" to get into Heaven is extremely arrogant. It also says that we do not understand God's standard of how good good is. God does not grade on a curve. He does not compare us to other people & then take the top, whatever percentage of people.
God's standard of "good enough" is Jesus. In order to go to Heaven, we need to be just as good as Jesus.
My immediate thought here is, "This is impossible! Who then can be saved?" Well let's look at Jesus on this subject to answer the question-
Jesus on the subject: Mark 10:17-31; Matthew 19:16-26
17 As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.
19 “You know the commandments, ‘DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, Do not defraud, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.’ ”
20 And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.”
21 Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
22 But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.
23 And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!”
24 The disciples awere amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
25 “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
26 They were even more astonished and said to Him, “Then who can be saved?”
27 Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”
An outline, summary of the passage:
New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
I. Man asks, "What must I do to have eternal life?"
II. Jesus responds,
A. "No one is good, except God alone." -are you an exception to that rule? Jesus didn't even accept the title of good.
B. "Keep the 10 Commandments."
III. Man's response, "I have been keeping them, ever since I was a kid." or "I am good enough"
IV. Jesus responds, "One thing you lack." In other words, "NO YOU HAVEN'T!"
V. Man's response- walks away sad, he was unwilling to really follow God after all.
VI. Disciples' response- "Who can be saved?"
VII. Jesus' response- "Man can't save themselves, but God can."
This is why Jesus died! Because you aren't good enough. You need saving. Jesus came to save you, because you are imperfect, you do sin, you have "issues" and so do I.
Accepting Jesus isn't about being good enough or religious enough. It is about realizing your need, that you can't earn your way to heaven, that you are imperfect & then asking Him to be your savior. He is our hope of one day being in Heaven.
Resolution: Shellie & I have a couple family members who feel that we are judging them, saying they aren't good enough to go to heaven. My response is, YES! I am judging you. I am telling you the truth, that you AREN'T good enough. You are a sinner who needs salvation! You are absolutely reading me right!!! But I am not saying that I am better than you. What I want, because I love you, is that you understand that you need a savior, just as I do and so far, you aren't understanding that, as far as I can tell. We are a couple of imperfect people that need saving. Everyone needs saving...but some are too prideful & don't think they do. Let's be honest.
That is why you see Christians with the bumper stickers, "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven."
We understand that we aren't any better than you. What we do understand is that Jesus died & rose again to save us, because we are too imperfect, we aren't good enough to save ourselves.
Have you admitted to God what he already knows about you- that you aren't perfect, that you can't really earn your way to Heaven?
Have you thanked Jesus for dying to take your sin upon himself so you could be forgiven and then asked him to become your hope of salvation?
Now that you are forgiven, is it your desire to live a life that is pleasing to him?
Matthew 22:36-40 Love God- commitment to honoring Him. Love people- doing good to all
Hope to see you there.