What is Good Enough to Get to Heaven?

1 John 4.17 warns, by this love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment, because just as Jesus is, so also are we in this world.

Recently an acquaintance of mine died. This man was well known in the community. Many loved him but a few didn’t. He was very wealthy and successful. Gave quite a bit of money away though not much as a percentage of his wealth. Attended church regularly. Once I asked him if he was going to heaven, he answered that he hoped so then proceeded to call a friend who was ill to encourage him. Another good deed to his credit to hopefully put him over the threshold of the amount needed for gaining heaven.

Nearly everyone believes they are going to heaven but few do anything to guarantee their arrival. Amazing when you think about it. If the life to come is eternal and the life we live temporarily here on earth determines that destiny, doesn’t it make sense to do everything we can to ensure our final outcome? So many live so long hoping they are good enough to get to heaven. What is good enough?

The answer we give demonstrates who we recognize as God. Most of us define goodness by our own standard. We list things we don’t do that are bad and perhaps a few things we do that are good. Both lists we have determined ourselves with perhaps some common agreement by society. If we have determined that we are good enough to get to heaven then haven’t we made ourselves god? If God determines who lives forever with Him in paradise versus forever away from Him in hell shouldn’t we try and get that information so we can plan and thus live accordingly?

John says if we live as Jesus did we will have confidence on judgement day that we will enter heaven. How did Jesus live? He lived in unswerving obedience to God the Father. How did He live such an obedient life? He knew God’s commands implicitly and denied Himself completely in order to obey them.

How are we doing with knowing God’s commands completely and doing them perfectly? Do we really think we have lived good enough to get to heaven because we lived as Jesus did? There is a way that seems right to a person but in the end it leads to death.

If we believe in God and the life to come we would do well to seek God’s means for getting there rather than relying upon our own assumptions.

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