• Jack Selcher

Are You Good Enough for Heaven? (Part 2 of 4)


A former biology professor at Millersville State College, explained to us students why we should not use a pen to take his exam. “You are not that good.” We made way too many mistakes. We were pencil and eraser people.

In the moral realm we write with a pen. The ink represents our words, deeds, and attitudes. What we write stays written. When you consider the paper of your life thus far, do you need a small eraser, a large one, a 55-gallon drum of whiteout or a new paper altogether?

George Barna’s survey revealed that 83 percent of Americans believe that people are basically good.1 Do you agree with them? Why? Do you believe you will go to heaven when you die? On what basis should God admit you? We grossly underestimate God’s “right-living” requirements and overestimate our goodness. God’s moral standards are like a full-grown elephant’s foot and our goodness like a baby’s first socks. It is far from a perfect fit! The Bible uses several different Hebrew words to describe how we fall short of God’s moral standards.

One word for “sin” in the Bible means to cross over a boundary (Hosea 6:7). As children we often ignored the limits our parents set. Sometimes they knew. Sometimes they did not. When you were out of bounds as a child, what percentage of the time were you caught? When apprehended, what percentage of the time did you escape punishment? We have all bashed God’s wise and lovingly established boundaries. Heaven’s “video cameras” record every trespass. Romans 2:16 tells us that one day God will judge the secrets of every person.

A second word for sin in the Bible means “to break away from.” We have denied God’s right to rule over us and gone our own way (1 Timothy 1:9). We do not want anyone to tell us what to do. Not even God. Do you agree? Why?

The most common word for sin in the Bible means “to miss the mark” (Romans 3:23). We have all repeatedly missed God’s bull's-eye of perfect love for Him and our neighbor. Only Jesus did not. We have not always loved our neighbor as ourselves. According to Luke 10:30-37, our neighbor is anyone whom we have the capacity and opportunity to help.

Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV) describes the core of human personality as “deceitful above all things and beyond cure.” Isaiah 64:6 compares our lifetime production of good deeds to filthy rags. Romans 3:10-23 teaches us that no one is righteous, not even one. No one voluntarily seeks God. No one. Note

1. Barna, George. What Americans Believe. Regal. 1991. p. 89.

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