Which do you want first; the good news, or the bad news + the other bad news? Let’s go ahead and get both of the bad news stories out of the way. The first bad news……………Everyone is going to die.
The second bad news………….unfortunately no one is good enough to make it to heaven on their own. That’s correct, no matter how good or how bad you are, you’ll never make it to heaven on your own. Does that mean you’ll go to hell when you die? Well, if you’re depending on your own “goodness”, unfortunately, yes.
The good news…………we have a choice on continuing to live after dying here on earth. We have a choice. We never have to see or experience hell at all. The choice is ours to make. While some people question what exactly happens to us after we die, Christians have no doubt; at least true and faithful Christians. If you are one of those who fall into the “doubtful” category, Christian or not, if the two pieces of “bad news” above got your attention, keep reading.
Bad News – We Are All Dying
That’s right; no one lives forever; at least here on earth. Like it or not, all of us are going to die some day of something. Cancer, heart attack, stroke, accident, whatever the reason we are all going to die. Like the old saying goes, there are only two things guaranteed in this life; taxes and death.
In the Bible, 1st Corinthians 15:22 says, “For as in Adam all die………….”. Adam was an earthly being, a human, and a sinner just like us. And just like him we will die. According to the centers for disease control (CDC), there were 2,813,503 deaths in the United States in 2017. That’s 234,459 deaths per month, roughly 7,708 deaths per day, 321 deaths per hour, or 5.3 deaths per minute. That’s a lot of people dying. The Bible is over 2,000 years old and you have to agree, Christian or not, 1st Corinthians 15:22 pretty much nailed it when you see those 2017 statistics.
More Bad News – No One is Good Enough – No One
Romans 3:10-12 tells us plainly, “as it is written: None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” Here, we are told that no one is “good enough”. No matter how good we think we may be, no matter how many things we volunteer for, how many elderly people we walk across the street, how many Sunday school classes we teach or sermons we preach, no matter how many organs we donate, it still isn’t good enough to get us into heaven. That may be a gut-punch to some people, but it’s true.
There are 4 types of people, regarding this topic we’re on, in the world.
- Those who know by faith they are “right with God” because they have accepted Jesus Christ as their savior and have confessed their sins.
- Those who don’t know about being “right with God”, don’t believe in God or just don’t care about being “right with God”.
- Those who think they’re right with God, and
- Those who think they’re “just good people” and because they are not criminals and they do good things for others, they “must be going to heaven” because how could God send “good people” to hell?
You see, in God’s eyes a sin is a sin. There are no grades or categories of sin in His eyes. A murder, a rape, a lie, an act of theft, drinking to simply get drunk, deception, it’s all the same to Him. And unfortunately, because it’s all the same, if you’ve done any of this and more, refer back to Romans 3:10-12. You, like me, are not “good enough” to make it to Heaven.
Ok, so let’s say you don’t do any of that stuff. You don’t lie, you definitely don’t commit murder, you volunteer, you help others, you donate to charity, you’re just a genuinely “good person”. In your eyes, you don’t need to go to church to go to heaven because you’re just a good person. I mean, God would never send a “good person” like you who does all this good stuff to hell right? Again, refer back to Romans 3:10-12………….
Which group do you fit in? If you’re not in group #1, please, keep reading.
The Terms of Reality
We have to come to terms with a couple of harsh realities.
- First off, you have to come to terms that no matter how good you think you may be, you by yourself and with all your “good deeds” will never be “good enough” to make it to heaven. We are all sinners, we’ve all sinned on some level, all sins are the same in God’s eyes and no one with sin can make it into Heaven.
- We will all die some day, of something.
- When we die, we will go to only one of two places, Heaven or Hell. There is no in-between, we don’t simply cease to exist, there is no reincarnation, or any of that nonsense, we go to Heaven, or we go to Hell.
Matthew 25:46 in the Bible makes that last bullet clear: “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life”. Often we hear people state the term, “you need to get right with God”, or some version of that. But do they really know what it means to “get right with God”? Well, now that’s the “good news”. Keep reading.
The Good News
Refer back to the first Bad News above where we referenced 1st Corinthians 15:22. Go back now and read the rest of that verse and you will find the whole verse says this, “For as in Adam all die so in Christ all will be made alive”. Jesus Christ died for our sins. It’s that simple. What does that mean? I once heard a preacher put it like this:
Imagine you’ve died and you arrive at the pearly gates. There at the gates is God standing at an alter with two books in front of him. One book has your name on the cover, the other has Jesus’ name on the cover. Your book contains every single thing you’ve ever done, every thought you’ve ever had, every action, everything about you, good, bad and indifferent. Jesus’ book has the same. Now, Jesus is The Son of God, he was perfect, he never sinned, and He is in Heaven. God begins to open and look through your book and by now, you’re feeling doomed. But before you died, you confessed your sins in a prayer between you and God, you accepted His Son, Jesus Christ, as your savior and believed with your heart that He died on the cross for all those sins of yours. So because of that, God reaches in your book, he removes the contents of yours and he inserts the contents of Jesus’ book into your book cover. He then puts the contents of your book inside Jesus’ book cover. Now when he opens your book up, he sees the righteous perfection of Jesus Christ. Why? Because Jesus already took the blame for and died for all those sins, and you accepted it.
Now, what would happen if you had not of spoken that prayer and accepted Christ?
Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”. The Good News is that God wants us all in Heaven with Him. In the Bible, John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life“. You see, when Jesus died on the cross, he paid the penalty for our sins. He paid our debt in full. 1st Peter 2:24 explains, “He (Jesus) himself bore our sins, in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed“. We cross the bridge into God’s family when we accept this free gift of salvation. The key there is that we have to accept it. How you ask?
- Admit you’re a sinner. No matter how good or bad you think you are, admit you’re a sinner.
- Ask for forgiveness and be willing to turn away from your sins.
- Believe that Christ died for you on the cross.
- Receive Christ into your heart and life.
Romans 10:13 says, “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved”.
Now, say this prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner. I ask for your forgiveness of all my sins. I believe you died for my sins and rose from the dead. I trust and follow you as my Lord and Savior. Guide my life and help me to do your will going forward. In your name I pray, Amen.
If you said that prayer, congratulations. Now the hard part comes………….living for Christ and turning away from those old ways. When it came to sinful ways, my ol’ Dad who is in heaven now use to say, “Son, it takes a bigger man to say no to all that stuff than it does to say yes“. That’s some deep wisdom from a simple old blue collar man that we could all apply to our daily lives. Keep the faith, keep yourself in check, and when in doubt refer to the Bible. God will never steer you wrong.