I don’t know about you, but I spent a good portion of my life trying to be “good.” I followed in my parents footsteps in faithfully going to church, trying to watch my language, and in my most rebellious moments, at least acknowledging right from wrong. These are all positive “good” things to do as a follower of Christ. We MUST give God our absolute BEST effort to follow Him. However, it can never become about WHAT we do, but rather WHY we do what we do. None of us deserve to go to heaven, or to live a life free from guilt and shame. The truth is we all deserve to go to hell for our sin.
BUT…here’s the good news. God did not die on a cross so that all the “good” Christians could go to heaven with him. In fact, it’s more likely that a “bad” person with a true heart of repentance and humbleness will be with Him in the end. There are NO amount of good deeds, NO good track record, or church attendance worthy of going to heaven. While these things should be present in our life as a result of following Jesus, we can never get the “What” ahead of the “Why”!
The older I get, the more I see God’s character present in those who are forgiven, and drastically changed for the better. They are so realistic about the fact that they would be a mess without the Holy Spirit leading their life (the same is true for all of us!). They are also so appreciative of the undeserved grace given to them. It’s not at all that it’s impossible to have the character of Christ without a past! In fact, there is a testimony of God’s grace in that as well. All I’m saying is that regardless of how we came to a place of following Christ, we must never loose sight of the fact that we are sinners saved by grace. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead, healed the sick, & gave sight to the blind is not only available to us, but essential for our salvation.
*To quote Andy Stanley is his book How good is good enough…”The good news is that good people don’t go to heaven, forgiven people do.”
So…what about you? Are you more focused on your “good” track record, or the fact that you are “forgiven” by a God who has done so despite all of your worldly shortcomings?