Over the next several weeks, I'd like to spend some time pondering some of the deep questions concerning the Christian faith. Let's begin our discussion with one of the most often asked questions a pastor hears. How good is good enough? Put another way: how do I know if I've been good enough to make it to Heaven?
Can you imagine how tremendously difficult it would be to determine the standard by which people would be deemed as either a good person deserving of Heaven and a not-so-deserving person? How many good things are required? How many bad things until you're out? Does quantity even matter? What if a person only committed a handful of sins in their entire lives, but those sins were big sins like rape and murder? How do they compare with someone who has committed thousands of sins of trivial nature? Where do you draw the line that is ultimately fair?
The Bible teaches us that in God's wisdom, He set a standard that is ultimately fair to all. The standard is total obedience. The only true good individual deserving of Heaven is the individual without sin. This is a fair standard. You're either sinless or a sinner. There's no need to rank people based on the number of times one sins or the severity of their sins, etc.
Though this is the fairest way to settle the question of how good is good enough, it doesn't put us in a very good position. Any honest person would admit to the fact that they have done things that are sinful. I've yet to find a person who claims perfection. God has spoken to this fact in His Word - the Bible. Romans 3:10 states: "None is righteous, no, not one." Romans 3:23 states: "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." In other words, we all fall short of the standard for getting into Heaven.
Fortunately, God has not left us in this miserable and hopeless state. God knew that we could not meet the standard, so He sent His Son, Jesus, to take our sins upon Himself and bare the punishment we deserve. In His death, Jesus literally removes our sin from our shoulders and places it on His back and suffers God's holy wrath in our stead. As a result of Jesus removing our sin, we now stand sinless - meeting the standard. In addition to removing our sin, Jesus also places on our shoulders His perfect obedience to the law. When God the Father looks at a born-again Christ-follower, He sees Christ's sinless life and righteous obedience to the law. Through Christ, a believer becomes "good enough."
As an interesting side note, the question of being good enough begs the question: why did Jesus come and die on the cross? If we were able to meet the standard of what is good enough on our own merits, why would it be necessary for Jesus to come at all? For those who weren't as good as those who were good enough? How is that fair? No, Christ came, because it was the only way to save all men who receive Him by faith.
If you haven't received Christ by faith (you may not even know what that means), contact me through the contact page. I'd be happy to discuss it in greater detail.
If you have other questions worth considering in this forum, please comment on this post with your question. I'd be happy to tackle it in the weeks to come.