I grew up thinking good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell, but the truth is God requires a person to be not just good, but totally perfect.
For you are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, nor shall evil dwell with you.Psalm 5:4
Why such a strict standard? The answer is found in God’s character. Because God is totally perfect, He requires the same thing from us. The Bible calls the wrong things people do sin, and He cannot tolerate even a little bit of it in His presence. Since we have all done things wrong we miss God’s standard of perfection and must be eternally separated from God. The Bible calls this separation death, and without God’s intervention there would be no hope for any of us.
The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.Romans 6:23
Although He has stringent rules regarding sin, God also loves people very, very much. And so He created a way for us to be with Him even though we have a sin problem. Instead of condemning each individual person to eternal separation, God punished his own Son, Jesus, for the sins of everyone. Jesus lived a sinless life, He died a painful physical death, and was then separated from God for three days. On the third day He came back to life as a demonstration of His power over sin and death.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.Ephesians 2:8-9
Because the consequence of sin has been satisfied by Jesus, God now offers eternal life in heaven to everyone as a free gift given to those who believe in Him. To put it another way: we simply have to trust that God will follow through on His commitment to provide eternal life. Because salvation is God’s gift to us, He does not take our good deeds or personal merit into consideration.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.John 3:16-17
Have you received God’s gift of salvation? You can do it right now by trusting in the work of Jesus and believing that God will do what He promised: give you eternal life. There is no need for flowery language or religious fanfare, and you will likely not hear bells ring or angels sing — but if you have trusted Jesus for salvation you can be confident of your eternal destiny.
These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.1 John 5:13
-written by Dick Seymour @ clarity ministries