For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. Romans 3:28
Here’s a story—it’s only a story: A man died and found himself standing before the gates of paradise. Saint Peter told him that he could come in if, in his life, he had accumulated 1,000 points. “No problem,” the man said to himself. He began, “I was an active Christian.” “100 points,” said Peter. “I sang in the choir.” “25 points.” “I was a substitute teacher once in Sunday school.” “10 points.” With only 135 out of the necessary 1000, the man became concerned. “I had a cousin who was a pastor and a great uncle who was a missionary.” “5 points each,” came back Peter’s reply. “I went to a congregational voter’s meeting.” Well, that should count for something: “100 points.” Unable to think of anything else, and with a grand total of 245 points to his credit, the man mumbled, “I’m not gonna’ make it. Nobody could. Only by God’s grace alone can I ever get into heaven.” Listening to the man’s mumbling, Peter replied, “That’s 755 points. Come on in.”
Now I wouldn’t want you to think you can ever get into heaven by your own power. Scripture is clear: "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). If we're going to get into heaven, it will only be because we have been given faith in Jesus Christ as Savior. Let me say that a different way. If you want to get into heaven, this is what you should do: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. If faith is given to you, there is no doubt, no question, no second-guessing, no balancing scales. That is the difference between Christianity and every other religion of the world. Other religions say, "Do, do, do." Christianity says, "Done."
Done. That is such a simple word for me to write. But so that I could write it, your Savior paid a terrible price. So you might someday stand before God as your heavenly judge and be declared "innocent," Jesus stood before an earthly judge and was found guilty. So that Satan's true accusations against you might be found groundless, Jesus accepted the false accusations made against Him. So that your sins might be removed, Jesus took those sins and carried them to His cross. So that you might be given the gift of eternal life, Jesus gave up His life upon the cross. Done. Jesus’ resurrection says that the Christ has done everything necessary for your salvation. Now, all that is necessary for you to do is to believe it.
Excerpt from The Lutheran Hour sermon preached October 24, 2004
THE PRAYER: Gracious God, You are the giver of all good things. Thank you for doing everything necessary for my salvation. Open my eyes to all of your blessings today that my heart may overflow with thanksgiving. Amen.