Without getting into a sizeable theological debate on the several different judgments the Bible talks about, let us assume, come judgment day, God asks you a straightforward question, “Why should I let you into heaven?” What would your answer be?
Let us examine what would be some of the more popular answers.
“I was a pretty good person.” In other words, “The good in my life, outweighed the bad.”
That is all fine and dandy, but several problems come up immediately. Who is making the deciding factor on what is good and bad? As an example, abortion is looked at by some people as murder, while others see nothing wrong with it at all. So, on the good/bad scale, which side does abortion go, and who determines that? On the sliding scale between murder and nothing wrong at all, there is a considerable gap.
Since God is the judge in our scenario, it would only be logical that He is the one deciding good and evil. I will save the abortion argument for another day; what I am trying to show is that God may place some things on the bad side we may have placed on the good side of the scale.
Another problem persists with this “the good in my life has outweighed the bad” argument — no matter how much good you have done; there are still things on the wrong side of the scale. “But the things on the bad side are not all that bad” would probably be our defense, and that statement brings us to our second popular answer before God’s throne.
“I’m better than a lot of other people out there. I never killed or raped anyone; I am not a child molester.”
Yes, there are murderers, rapists, and child molesters out there. Thankfully, most people can truthfully say they have never physically done these things. However, think of a court of law for a moment. The killer and the guy with a dozen parking tickets do not stand as co-defendants. Example — a man with outstanding parking tickets is scheduled to stand before a judge. He cannot use the defense, “Judge, what I have done is not nearly as bad as the guy in here yesterday, whom you found guilty of murder. So, therefore, you should let me go.”
The judge will not say, “You know, you are right. I have had a lot of heinous people come through here lately. I think I will rip up all your tickets.”
The guilt of one person does not influence the innocence or guilt of another. The defense that your crimes are not as severe as someone else’s does not erase your guilt.
Many others will come before God with the argument that they are very religious and did things for God. Jesus addresses this very thing in the Sermon on the Mount, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:22-23).
We have here people who expect the fact that they were preachers, that they were people who help change people’s lives, turning alcoholics, drug addicts and others to God; people who have rolled up their sleeves and accomplished incredible things for God, finding out hell awaits them.
It looks like we may all be doomed. The verses explaining to us that our good works cannot grant us entrance into heaven are all over the Bible. Here are only a few:
Romans 3:28, “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”
Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Galatians 2:16, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
Is it beginning to sound like it does not matter if the good outweighs the bad, or if we are overly religious, or if we have kept ourselves from committing specific evil sins?
Jesus said He was the only way to God the Father (John 14:6). In the verses above and all throughout the Bible, we read that faith in His blood as the perfect sacrifice for our sins (Jesus is the Lamb of God) as the means to eternal life.
Romans 3:20-23, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
If God asks, what will your answer be?
Preacher Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in northern Parke County Indiana. He can be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail: 410 S. Jefferson St. Rockville IN 47872. Archived Preacher’s Points and sermons can be found at www.preacherspoint.wordpress.com.