So I’m reading, which should come as no big surprise as I’ve found that pastors, elders, leaders, whatever’s hip to call them in your area, read a lot. It just kind of comes with the territory. While I’m reading, I just keep coming up with the concept of universalism or a minor player in that realm, ‘good people go to Heaven.’
I was drumming at a friend of mine’s church a few weeks ago, and he announces that they have a great book on the back table. It’s free, so pickup a copy and give it a read! Who am I to deny the pleasure of having one more book taken that you are freely giving away? The book is “How Good is good enough?” by Andy Stanley. I thumbed through the first chapter, so don’t expect a review here in this blog, and it’s hitting at this very point. The book, at least at first, is centered around the concept of good people go to Heaven and if that even makes sense.
It’s a rather funny concept, because what is the definition of good? Where’s the proverbial line of goodness that one needs to pass or stay on the side of to be good enough? To think of it in another way, how bad is bad enough to keep you out of Heaven? I think this is a more enlightening, albeit frightening, discussion. If you think about good, you might just make it, right? But if you think about bad, well you still might be okay, there are lots of people worse then you, right?
This whole concept is like guessing the value on the Price is Right, or more accurately like screaming no whammy no whammy and hoping that you end up winning. The only problem is that you won’t know if you’re right until you die, and at that point there’s nothing you can do about it.
So where is the line of goodness? Quite frankly, it’s perfection. Well in today’s society there seems to be an ever changing idea of right vs wrong, so perfection must be ever changing as well. Sadly, that’s not the case. It’s much easier in this talk to show you from the bad side, because most people have a skewed concept of good. How much bad is too much bad? Well the Bible tells us that the divide that keeps us from heaven started with a single wrong act. In Genesis 3 we see that Adam and Eve eat of the forbidden fruit, disobeying God, sinning. People don’t like the term sin anymore, but in reality, that is the measure of wrong vs right that matters.
This single disobedience caused the entire world to be in a continual state of sin. There’s your answer, to be good enough to get into heaven on your own, from the moment of birth to the moment of death you can have done absolutely nothing wrong. Ever. Not even thought anything bad, or perverted, or unrighteous. One act that strays from the level of excellence that God Himself holds keeps you from Heaven. Does this mean that God doesn’t love you? Absolutely NOT.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For 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 The first half of this is the ever popular John 3:16. It is sadly quoted most often without it’s counterpart verse 17 which in many ways is a much more profound statement than verse 16. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world(,) through Him(,) might be saved.” I added the commas for emphasis. Jesus was sent to save you, not condemn you. Paul shows us in Romans (and here in Romans too) that the law is not there so that we sin, but that we know that we sin. The law, the commandments, are there so that we have a knowledge that we have done wrong and need forgiveness and need something to get us in right standing with God.
Jesus is just that. He died as your pardon. That if you believe in Him you will have eternal life in Heaven. Now you have a choice. You can either play Plinko and scream no whammy while hoping that you have lived an absolutely perfect life. Or, you can give your life to the creator of the Universe, the one who knows you and loves you, the one known as Jesus Christ. If you were wondering, I choose the latter.