For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
When it comes to dollars, there are not many people who can beat New York City's former mayor, Michael Bloomberg. When it comes to dollars, Mr. Bloomberg, the 16th richest man in the world, knows what he's talking about.
On the other hand, when it comes to sense, that's a different matter.
Now for those of you who haven't followed "his honor," a word or two of background might be in order. Although Bloomberg has been a Democrat and a Republican and then a Democrat again, he has been faithful in using his billions to push his adopted causes, you know, things like gun control and banning the sale of any soda pop larger than 16 ounces.
But it's neither money nor causes which has brought Mr. Bloomberg into this Daily Devotion. No, indeed. He appears here because of some comments he made not so long ago -- comments about heaven. He said, "I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I'm not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It's not even close."
Well, Mr. Bloomberg is partially right. He is absolutely, 100 percent correct when he said, "It's not even close." As for the rest of what Mr. Bloomberg had to say, he couldn't be more wrong.
Just a partial list of his errors would include
1. "If there is a God." It seems to me that on the day when you are appearing before the Almighty and He is going to determine where you are going to spend eternity, questioning His existence and His authority is not the wisest course of action.
2. Stopping for an interview. Mr. Bloomberg is wrong in thinking God is like Santa Claus. The Triune God doesn't check a list to see who has been naughty or nice.
3. "I have earned my place in heaven." Not so, Mr. Mayor. You may have earned a lot of money; you may have earned a place in the history books, and you may have earned the love of millions and the loathing of other millions ... but you have not earned a place in heaven.
4. Finally, no, Mr. Bloomberg, you are not going right in. In fact, with that attitude you are never going to be going in.
Now I wouldn't have spent your time belaboring Mr. Bloomberg's remarks if it weren't for the fact that he is speaking for many who think their good lives are good enough for a heavenly admission.
The truth is nobody is that good.
The truth is if a person is going to get into heaven, it is because Jesus Christ lives in his heart and has forgiven his sins. Only when an individual's soul has been washed in the blood of the crucified and risen Redeemer, will he be able to pass the thorough inspection of the final Judge.
Scripture is clear, and the church needs to be equally clear in telling people like Michael Bloomberg that it is by grace we are saved. Salvation does not come from our works. No, forgiveness and eternal life are gifts from the Almighty, which have been made possible by the Savior's perfect life, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, for the salvation which has been won for me, I give thanks. May others be brought to faith which believes in the saving Redeemer. In His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries