“If there is a God and He is good, then He’d let me into heaven” and other lies people tell themselves

The statement in the title is just one of the answers evangelists regularly hear when they ask people something along the lines of, “If you were to die today, why would God let you into heaven?”  People say other things like, “I’m a good person”, and “I’ve always done what I thought was right”.  Listen–the Bible teaches that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), and that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).  In other words, nobody deserves to go to heaven.  And while, yes, people tend to do what they think is right, they are no less sinners and worthy of hell.  Now, that’s the bad news.

The good news is foreshadowed in Old Testament books that were written hundreds of years before Jesus was born.  Psalm 32, for example, begins, “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.  Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit” (v1-2).

The lie that people believe is that God just pardons sin without any consequences.  But that’s not how it works.  If a serial murderer/rapist was standing before a judge, and the judge, out of compassion, simply forgave the criminal, there would be outrage.  Where is the justice in that?

In the same way, God is not a weak and derelict Judge.  Sin has been committed, and God, being perfectly just, does not simply overlook it.  He doesn’t compromise His justice for the sake of His compassion.  He enacts both perfectly and abundantly.  So, then, how is it that anyone can be “one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered“?  How can anyone be “the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity“?  How can this be done and God still be just?

Well, John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”  God gave His only Son.  For what?

Paul wrote to the church in Corinth in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”  In other words, God transferred the sins of those who believe in Him onto His only Son, and His Son took on His Father’s wrath that sinners like you and me deserve.  And He requires those for whom He died to believe in Him.

So, maybe you’re the person who thinks that you’re good enough to go to heaven based on your own merit.  Maybe you’re the one who’s just hoping that God is merciful enough to let you in.  Be warned that those are the lies of the devil, and they will keep you in God’s wrath.  Listen to the Word of God, instead.  Repent and believe in Jesus for your salvation.  And “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  (Romans 10:9)

Today’s readings:
Psalm 32
Genesis 29:1-30
2 Chronicles 6
Luke 22:47-23:25

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