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. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10
One of the great preachers of the 19th century was a Scottish Presbyterian minister by the name of Alexander Whyte.
Reverend Whyte was one of those wonderful people who had a living, loving relationship with his Savior. That, coupled with the fact that Rev. Whyte had done some serious soul searching, made him beloved by his congregation, which he served for almost 40 years. So great was their admiration that one day a member of his church came and gushed: "Dr. Whyte, I just love being in your presence. You are so saintly."
Pastor Whyte looked at the lady and said, "Madam, if you could look into my soul, what you would see would make you spit in my face."
By human standards, Alexander Whyte may have been a pretty good fellow.
But Alexander Whyte knew, in his final judgment before God, being a pretty good guy was not going to be enough to get him into heaven. Truly, by God's standards, none of us is good enough to get into heaven. The Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes sadly says, "Surely, there is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins" (Ecclesiastes 7:20).
Try as you might, you're not good enough to earn heaven.
Let me tell you what I mean by using a story. It begins with a man who died and found himself standing before the gates of paradise. St. Peter told him that he could come in if he accumulated 1,000 points.
"No problem," the man said to himself. He began, "I was an active Christian."
"A hundred points," said Peter.
"I sang in the choir."
"I was a substitute teacher once in Sunday school."
With only 135 of the necessary 1,000 needed, the man became concerned. "I had a cousin who was a pastor and a great uncle who was a missionary."
"Five points each," came back St. Peter's reply.
"I went to a congregational voters' meeting."
Well, that counted for something: "A hundred 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 the grace of God alone can I ever get into heaven."
Listening carefully to the man's mumbling, Peter replied, "That's 750 points! Come on in."
Now I don't want you to think you can even begin to 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). No, if we're going to get into heaven, it will only be because we have been given faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. If you have faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior, you will get into heaven. No doubt, no question, no second-guessing, no balance scales.
With faith in Jesus Christ, you are going to heaven. That's because, in Jesus, the just Judge says, "All is done."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that You have taken care of all I could never have done. Because of my Savior's sacrifice I have been granted life, forgiveness and salvation. In His Name I give thanks. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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