Why Try to Earn What Has Already Been Freely Given
Easter is just about here. Even without the calendar showing the most important Christian Holy day, it’s usually easier to tell when Easter is close because of an increase in Anti-Christian news, Jesus Conspiracy theories or political theologies. So far, I’ve not seen any overly blasphemous stories as I have in the past, but plenty of folks talking about their versions of Christ or theological beliefs, such as a recent segment with Bill O’Reilly talking about whether there is life after death where he stated more than a few times that one has to earn their way into heaven.
This is a popular misconception, because it’s hard to accept such a simple message of the Gospel, that faith in the Grace of God’s freely given salvation is all there is to it. There are plenty of arguments which try and prove that one must do good works, but the fact is, if one knows the Bible, no matter how many works we can do, none of those will ever be enough to earn our own way. If that was the case, then Jesus never would have died on the cross for the rest of us. Faith in His gift and trust in Him is all that is required to enter Heaven, the works we do once we’re saved will be tested, but our works are not the basis of our Salvation, we continue doing works once we’re saved, but they are for Him, not us.
Unsaved people do good things all the time, I used to do good before I was saved, but I know anything that I did, no matter how good, would never be good enough to match what Jesus already did. Faith is simple, but not easy. But a sincere faith and trust in Jesus is all that is required. If this was not so, the thief on the cross never would have had the promise that Jesus Himself gave, “Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
Did the thief have time to do works? No, but he did recognize Who Jesus is, and acknowledged that Jesus was sinless, yet taking on punishment for sins of others. He recognized Jesus as the Son of God and stated it publically, and asked out of simple faith to remember him when Jesus came into His Kingdom.
Biblical Christianity is different than any other religion, philosophy or ideology. Pastor Jeffress was Bill O’Reilly’s guest for that segment, and a quote he said years ago is still true, “Every religion in the world except Christianity is spelled ‘D-O,’ only Christianity is spelled ‘D-O-N-E.'”
I read a second story, about Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City Mayor, who told the New York Times, “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.”
This is similar to those who believe they can or must earn their way into heaven with good works. Yet the former mayor’s words are so much more of a wide belief among seculars- that they don’t know for sure if there is a god and are often the same people often times who mock Christians beliefs saying “My god would never…”
They first question whether there is a god, and then they discredit the One Christians believe in and say their god would not keep them out of heaven, why; because they’re good people who do good things. They refuse the righteousness of a Holy God and His plumb line of what is and isn’t acceptable, and measure what is good by a human standard. Narrowed down even more, if we use Michael Bloomberg’s article as an example, those good works are based on political beliefs- not even all people believe in the same political ideologies.
Let me sum things up in a nutshell for Mr. Bloomberg and all of those who believe somehow they deserve a place somewhere they don’t even know if they believe exists, to spend eternity with a God they don’t even know if He exists. There is a heaven as described in the Book of Revelation. There is a God. He is a Holy, Righteous and a Loving God, who sent His only begotten Son to take our place as a sacrifice for our sins. I know sin is a word not many folks appreciate these days and to many down right offensive, but that doesn’t make it irrelevant. Humans are sinful and separate from a Holy God until there is reconciliation which is only possible through a relationship with Jesus.
Jesus came the first time as a spotless lamb to be sacrificed on the cross so we could have the chance to be reconciled back to God, He will come again, not as a Lamb, but in all of His glory, as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Every tongue will confess His Name, and every knee will bow to Him. No amount of human works, righteous only in the eyes of humans will be enough to earn a place in heaven, and there will be no bargaining table in the presence of the King in which to argue your case.
If you have to wonder whether He exists you might want to really think whether you’d want to spend eternity with someone you don’t know. This being Easter time, the observed holiday of His Resurrection, it would be a perfect time to introduce yourself to Him, which you can do by starting to read here.
Soli Deo Gloria