If you were to die tonight, and found yourself standing before your Creator, how would you answer His question, “Why should I let you into my Heaven?”
If you’re like many people, your answer might be something along the lines of, “Well, I’m a good person. Although I’ve made some mistakes over the course of my life, and perhaps hurt a few people, I was also very loving. I gave money to the poor and helped people in need, and I think the good I did outweighed the bad. So, on that basis, I deserve to enter heaven.”
While this answer seems quite satisfactory on the surface, it runs in stark contradiction to the words of Jesus, and indeed the teachings of all Scripture as well. You see, the picture of a god who would respond to this statement favorably bears no resemblance to the God of the Bible. Rather a god who would take sin so lightly is nothing but a construction from man’s imagination.
The Bible says in Romans 3:23 that, “all have sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God.” Later in that same book, we read, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). You see, because of the sin of our father Adam, we members of the human race are born into rebellion against our Creator. From our earliest years, we rebel against our parental authority, revealing a heart bent toward selfishness and quick to violate the commands of God. Though God has planted a conscience with his own image in each heart, we silence that inner voice and do that which we know we ought not.
Because God is holy, he cannot allow sin-stained creatures such as us in His presence. Because he is just, he cannot turn a blind eye to our offences. Each sin that you or I commit must be paid for, and sadly for us, the debt is one we cannot possibly afford to pay.
It is in this hopeless place that God sought us out, not because of something great we could offer Him, but because of what He graciously wanted to offer us. God sent his only begotten son, Jesus Christ, to be born of a virgin, live a perfect and sinless life, in order to take our sin upon himself and bear the punishment and death we deserved (see John 3:16). The wrath of the Father against our sin was poured out upon Christ as he suffered and died on the cross. When he cried, “it is finished!” our debt was fully paid.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.” Any sinner, no matter how dark and stained, can receive salvation if he will turn from his sin, turn to Christ, and trust in Him as Lord and Savior. Just as Jesus demonstrated his divinity and power over death through his own resurrection on the third day, so will His power transform your life the moment you place your faith in Him. And not only that, but one day Christ will come again to gather His children unto himself, that they may spend eternity with him in heaven.
Will you take the opportunity today to forsake your life, and give it to Jesus? The life He offers is more abundant than anything you can imagine, and will change you from a rebel who spurns his Creator into a beloved child of the King. Will you pray to place your trust in Him today? Simply cry out to him from your heart, as did the man of whom Jesus spoke in Luke 18:13, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner!”