Are you Good Enough?
Statistics show that 100% of all people will die. That includes you and me. We will all die, and after that, we face eternity. God tells us through his Word that some will face an eternity in paradise with Him, and others will face an eternity of torment without Him. Heaven or Hell. Where is your eternal destination?
Do you think you are good enough to go to heaven? How do you measure goodness? If you look at yourself in the mirror, you may see the good in yourself. You don’t kill people, you don’t beat your spouse, you volunteer, you donate blood, you try to treat everyone nice…the list goes on of good deeds most of us do on a regular basis. But, how does this match up to God’s standard of goodness?
In Romans 3:11-12, we read that there are none who seek for God, and there are none who do good. We read this also in the Old Testament in Psalm 53:3. God’s standard of goodness is found in the Ten Commandments (the Law). In Romans 3:20, we find that the Law makes us conscious of our sin. The Law shows us that we have sinned. Let’s demonstrate this with a few questions:
Have you ever told a lie? A person who tells a lie is a liar.
Have you ever stolen anything? A person who steals is a thief.
Have you ever lusted after a man or woman? Jesus tells us our lustful thoughts are adultery. (Matthew 5:28)
Have you ever used God’s name as curse word? Doing so makes you a blasphemer.
Have you ever hated someone? God tells us through His Word that the mere thought of hating another person is equal to murder (1 John 3:15).
The above are just five of the Ten Commandments. How did you do in answering them? If you are like every other person on earth, you can now identify yourself as a liar, thief, blasphemer, an adulterer at heart, and a murderer.
As stated earlier, you will die one day, and you will stand before God for judgement. Being a liar, thief, blasphemer, adulterer, and murder, how do you think God will judge you? Innocent or Guilty? You may say, “But I’ve done other good things!” While it may be true you have done good things, the crimes against God remains.
Consider the case of Jessica Lunsford (http://crime.about.com/od/current/a/lunsford.htm). Clicking the link on her name will lead you to the story of her brutal rape where she was afterwards buried alive. Her deceased body was found clutching a stuffed toy. The criminal was a sex offender by the name of John Couey. This was indeed a horrific crime.
Imagine this hypothetical scenario: John Couey goes to court and the judge convicts him of rape and murder. Before the judge hands down a sentence, John says, “But judge, since then I have changed my life around! I’ve committed my life to doing charity work and I donated all my money to a children’s hospital!” If the judge were to dismiss the case based on John’s good deeds, would he be a good judge? Absolutely not! Regardless of the good a criminal does, there was still a crime committed, and justice has to be served. (As a side note, John Couey died of natural causes while waiting on death row.)
Now, back to the scene in Heaven that we will all face one day. Knowing that you have broken the Law, and knowing that a good judge must execute justice for the crimes committed, what should your punishment be? If you have violated God’s commandments as we all have done, then we all deserve Hell. What on earth can you do to meet God’ standard of goodness?
There is nothing you can do. It’s already been done for you.
When God created the world, it was all perfect, but he allowed man to have free will. When Adam chose to sin, he created the problems for the rest of mankind. All of us, since we are descendants from Adam, have inherited the sin nature. Proof of this is in children. Have you ever had to teach your child to lie, or be selfish, or be disrespectful, or to steal? No, because these are part of the inherited sin nature. God, knowing that Adam would sin, created a way in the Old Testament for people to be forgiven their sins. They had to sacrifice unblemished animals. It would have been easier for someone to sacrifice a sickly animal because it would be no loss to them. Instead, God ordered the best and healthiest of animals to be sacrificed. Doing so would reflect the high price to be paid for sin. However, these sacrifices had to be repeated as they were only effective for a short term.
The animal sacrifices were a foreshadowing of Jesus’ sacrifice. Jesus never sinned although he was tempted the same way we are tempted. He was unblemished, just like the animals that were sacrificed. God saw that a permanent sacrifice was needed to redeem mankind for their sins. Two-thousand years ago, when Jesus offered himself on the cross “as a lamb being led to slaughter,” (Isaiah 53:7), he did so willingly. His human nature did not want to go through the physical and emotional torment of crucifixion, but His divine nature and the love Jesus has for us is what allowed Him to endure the agony of such a horrible death.
Consider this illustration: Imagine you invite your friend to your house. During the visit, he accidentally knocks over a lamp causing it to break. He apologizes. You say, “I forgive you, but give me $10 to pay for the lamp.” Is that true forgiveness? No, because forgiving someone cancels their debts and offenses. In true forgiveness, who is left to pay for the replacement of the lamp? It would be you. Who is your friend’s sin against? You. Who forgave him? You did. Who paid? You did.
The illustration is meant to show that when someone truly forgives, he cannot require a payment, otherwise, it is not true forgiveness. When we sin, whom do we sin against? We sin against God. Who forgives? God forgives. Who pays? God pays.
We have all sinned against God. We have lied, lusted, hated others, stolen, disobeyed our parents…these are things we have all done. It’s a natural part of the human experience; you don’t have to learn how to do these things, but regardless they are in violation of God’s laws. If God were to forgive us but then require us to do acts of service in order to pay back our debt, then that would not be true forgiveness. How much would we have to pay back for an offense to an infinitely holy God? There is no amount we could ever pay. Instead, God the Father, as prophesied, came in the form of Jesus Christ, God the Son, and 2,000 years ago, God paid the price for our sins by dying an excruciating death on a cross. We deserve death as punishment for violations against God, but instead God took the punishment upon himself for us. That act of selfless loved opened the door for us to receive full forgiveness.
Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 10:9, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Romans 10:13 says it again, “for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Romans 5:1, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
And finally, Romans 8:1, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
What separates Christianity from all other religions is this: God paid the price for our crimes against Him, but all other religions require you do to the work for your redemption. So, when you face God on judgement day, He will judge you based on the debt you owe. Did you pay back your debt with good works and kind gestures but not repent of your sins and put your faith in Christ? God will say, “Depart from me, I never knew you” (Matthew 7:23). Did you repent of your sins and place your trust in Jesus Christ for the debt He paid? If so, you will enter into heaven.
(Partially adapted from carm.org and gotquestions.org)