Getting to Heaven: How Good is Good Enough?

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This is one of the most commonly asked questions about Heaven and Christianity in general (understandably so). There’s no prospect more terrible than the thought of losing one’s own soul — of leaving the world unprepared to meet our Maker. We all want to be sure that we go to Heaven when we die. All other questions about life no matter how seemingly important mean nothing compared to, “How can I be sure I’m going to Heaven?”

Sadly, the very phrasing of the question shows that many have no idea how to get there. And, as we’ll see, the standard for getting to Heaven is far more stringent than trying to be good more often than we’re bad. The idea of arriving at a Heavenly state by being good isn’t a surprising notion. This is the prevailing belief of most world religions, after all. We’ve all heard things like, “Just be devout and obey the rules and hopefully things will work out for you.”

The problem is that no one ever knows if they’re living up to that standard or not. The idea is that you try your best and then you find out what happens to you after you die. But that’s a scary way to live and an even scarier way to die when your eternity is on the line. There are two crucial aspects to finding out how good you need to be to get to Heaven. There’s both bad news and good news. Let’s start with the bad news first.

You Have to Be Absolutely Perfect (Sinless) to Make it Into Heaven

And good luck with that. Sin is any thought, word or deed that goes against the character of God. This is spelled out in detail in the Bible and leaves absolutely no hope for us to get to Heaven based on our goodness. No, God doesn’t grade on a curve as some suppose. You have to live a completely sinless life to ever get to Heaven on your own merit.

In fact, the book of James shares that even if we only sinned one time our entire lives, we’d be guilty of breaking all of God’s rules.

10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. James 2:10

So, where does that leave all of us? Completely without hope of Heaven unless there’s another way there besides our own futile attempts. Because God is completely perfect and without sin (holy), he cannot allow any impure thing into Heaven including all people since we all sin.

2 The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men,
To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.
3 They have all turned aside, They have together become corrupt;
There is none who does good, No, not one. Psalm 14:2-3

Even worse than that, because God is perfectly just, He’s required to judge sin. If He failed to do this, He would cease to be good (an impossibility for Him, by the way). The terrifying thing is that our sin eternally separates us from God in a place of judgment and torment called the Lake of Fire at death. But, thankfully, as we’ll see, God deeply loves people and provided a way of salvation so we could have incredible hope in life and at death. Let’s take a look at what God’s love did to provide a path to Heaven for sinful people like you and me.

God Lovingly Provided a Way for Us to Go to Heaven

God sent his Son, Jesus, into the world. Jesus is a part of the Trinity along with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. However, Jesus took on a human form although He was God. Jesus, because He is God who cannot sin, was able to live a perfectly sinless human life. That doesn’t mean that Jesus wasn’t tempted by sin. He experienced that painful pull towards darkness because of his humanity. But, because He was God, He was able to completely say no to sin despite being tempted. He also was able to avoid sins of omission (Sins committed when someone knows the good they should do but fails to do it).

Jesus did what all other humans could never do by not sinning—Most of us couldn’t remain sinless for ten minutes! It was God’s plan for Jesus to die at the hands of sinful human beings who, apart from God changing their hearts, hate God. So, Jesus was crucified on a cross. He was condemned although he was completely innocent. After his death, he was resurrected on the third day.

Jesus became a perfect sacrifice who could save all who believe in Him by being their sin substitute. He freely offers his perfection to cover our sinfulness so we can be acceptable for Heaven. For those who trust Jesus as their Savior from their sin, his perfect blood sacrifice covers all of their sins.

Because the blood of Jesus covers the sins of those who believe in Him, they can enter Heaven. It isn’t because the followers of Jesus deserve salvation from their sins. Rather, it’s because of God’s grace and mercy only.

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Therefore, there’s no reason to boast about our salvation. It only came about because of the goodness of God, not due to our own goodness.

When sinful people die in faith, God views them as perfect. The sin payment of Jesus has been applied to their sin. Because of this, God can let them into Heaven. They are viewed as perfect. However, anyone who dies without faith in Jesus, dies in his or her sins. Because Jesus’ perfect salvation was rejected, they cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven. They enter an eternity apart from God where they will be eternally judged for their sin.

The worst part of Hell is the irreparable loss of a relationship with God. Because the Lake of Fire is a complete God vacuum, absolutely no good can exist there since the source of all good things is God. On earth, we experience something we often don’t consciously appreciate—goodness. All the good things of life come from God: good food, friends, fun, family and so on. These things are given to us because God is kind to all people, even to those who will ultimately reject Him.

In contrast, those who enter Heaven will experience perfect goodness, joy and restoration of their physical, mental and spiritual faculties (Something that was always out of reach on a sin-filled earth).

The most wonderful thing about Heaven will be to exist in the presence of God forever. We don’t experience that close contact with God on earth yet and so we can only imagine what this experience will be like. That’ll be a thrill nothing else will ever rival. No pleasure on earth will ever come close to comparing to perfect acceptance by the Author of your soul and all creation. It will be the ultimate experience of coming home.

Unconditional love will saturate us and to desire to leave the presence of God will be unthinkable. Yes, Heaven will hold many pleasures such as being reunited with loved ones but all the joys of paradise will find their ultimate meaning and fulfillment in God—the One we were made for.

That day when we see God face-to-face will be like no other and we’ll owe it all to the free gift of Jesus. That gift is open to anyone who will believe in Him. God doesn’t play favorites like sinful people too often do. People from every ethnic group and economic background will be represented in Heaven.

Do you know Jesus as your personal Savior? If not, you can make a decision to follow Him today. The Bible says that today is the day of salvation.

2 For He says:

“In an acceptable time I have heard you,
And in the day of salvation I have helped you.”

Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:2

It says that because only God knows how much more time we have left on this earth.

Life is not a “right” as we often wrongly assume. It only exists because God gave it to us. All of us will live only for a very short time on this earth in light of eternity. However, whether we accept or reject Jesus as our Savior will have a far-reaching, eternal impact on our future.

If you’ve never made a decision to follow Jesus, you can do that right now.

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

You can pray to Jesus, ask Him for forgiveness from your sins and seek Him and his word to help you turn from your sins. You’ll also need to spend time with his children to grow in your faith. You shouldn’t wait another minute because nothing is more important than getting right with God. Nothing.

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  1. I have total faith and am a follower of Jesus I believe and know that he came to earth to die for my sins and rose on the third day that I am a sinner but his blood washed me and only through Jesus I am saved by The grace of God the Father and that the Holy Spirit is here to guide and protect me through the evil in this world I do know this but I still mess up or do wrong (sin) and after I do I feel so miserable and unwerthy of God’s grace please help me with my struggles I’m missing something to stop this problem a troubled heart

    • You know Earl, I have experienced the same doubts in my life. It is human nature to sin.
      What was given to us by Christs death and resurrection is the promise of forgiveness. He knows we are weak and thus has given us the wisdom to know when we do sin and the unconditional forgiveness when we repent,
      ref: LUKE 5: 31-32
      2 CORINTHIANS 7:9-10
      PSALM 51:17 AND PSALM 34:18 (this one reached my soul when I was very low in spirit years ago and gave me great comfort)
      As brothers and sisters in Christ we must lift one another up – I hope this helped 🙂

  2. I am constantly amazed how many Christians do not know the truth. Do they read the scriptures? The other question that surprises me is that so many Christians still worry about is what will they eat when they get to heaven. Blows my mind.

    • I totally agree with you. I am a Christian and I am in the military and I witness to several people. When folks start hearing us talking about the Lord they will come over and start sharing their beliefs and I am startled at some of the responses. I am like do you even read the Bible. I am real burdened for people and I am like just open your Bible and see what it says, don’t go by what your aunts cousins mother told you. “Work out your own Salvation with fear and trembling”.

      • Here’s God’s plan to salvation: 1) Acts 2:38 “Repent ye and be baptized, EVERY one of you in the name of JESUS CHRIST, for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the GIFT of the Holy Spirit. 2) Acts 4:12 “There is NO OTHER NAME under heaven given amongst men whereby we must be saved” 3) John 3:5 “Verily, verily I say unto you, that unless a man be born again of the WATER AND OF THE SPIRIT he may NEVER enter into the kingdom of Heave.” 4) Mark 16:16 “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Though most people are preached into believing Matthew 28:19 “Go ye therefore and baptize every one in the name of the father, the son and the holy spirt” that scripture is the commandment yet Acts 2:38 is the fulfillment of that law. Further reading, Matthew 28:19 says IN THE NAME OF not names of. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are titles, like brother Armando or uncle Armando. If I write a personal check and make it payable to John Doe, he can cash the check I’ve written him. If I were to however, say pay to the order of bishop John, he would not be able to cash his check since there is no validity in a title, rather, a name.

    • That’s an opportunity then to be doers of the Word and not just speakers. The harvest is bountiful but the laborers are few…reach out to others, love others as Christ loves his church, forgive as Christ has forgiven you, for you too sin against the Lord daily be it by thought, word or action. Judge less, listen more, you’re trying to win a soul for Christ, not prove you’re right.

  3. How quick folks are to substitute the ageless presentation you presented. I pray for those that find solace in the “all are saved” idea..or rejecting God because they can’t get over the “burn in the lake fire” interpretation either..Keep reading and asking for the Spirit to show you the truth…Easter and what the majority of the world see in it may be repugnant to you…but if it is the ONLY season that makes one ponder over who this Risen Savior may be, leave it alone..it may be the last straw one is grasping for before joining the billions who live in vain, never finding and accepting what God created them for…God bless you, keep up the good work…pete

  4. Very inspiring text. I personally feel blessed after reading this. You remarkably click the transparent picture to reveal the exact varying and parting propositions of livings on the earth and guiding the real path to Heaven the perfect place (GOD RESIDES) in contrast with the earth the good place.

  5. We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. Remember Jesus died for us all and every sin was nailed to the cross when he was cruxified. Don’t worship Easter it is pagan and does not have a place in a true follower of Jesus. You can thank and worship him for dying and suffering for all mankind every day or every hour if you feel the need to. But don’t get entangled with a worldly thing called easter..it means nothing to Jesus but you do. God bless you

    • Aman your right on with your answer it is pagon and we need to thank praise and glorify him every day try our best to keep his comandments and keep the Sabbath day Holy and always pray in the name of Jesus.

  6. It’s good to be in the present of God for him to guide you through out your life. Jesus died for our sins so we should sin no more ad that we should have good relationship with him all the time. Therefore i would like to thank God for the good things that God is doing in our lives.

  7. What a beautiful, practical explanation of the plan of salvation and the only way to heaven!

  8. If a person sins the same sin over and over, is he or she not a Christian after they have accepted Jesus as their Savior? I have promise more than once but make the same sin over and over sometime days apart or weeks apart. thanks.

  9. Romans 5:18 Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for EVERYONE.

    Notice Adams one sin all man falls we do not get to pick.. we all fall under him.. why is it the greater gift God’s grace and son. The greater man Christ.. why is it we get to pick to choose him or not but under Adam the weaker man.. we had no picking option?

    Sounds like under Christ ALL ARE SAVED… NO PICKING.. wouldn’t that make more sense?

    Also.. I base scripture on the fruit of the spirit.. If the fruit from the scripture produces BAD fruit I know I must not understand the scripture correctly. If I feel prideful and self righteous thinking I am in heaven and think some of my fellow mankind are going to burn in hell for eternity then I question that fruit… I also question why God did not like the worship of Bala who burned children alive.. but he has no problem doing that himself.. creating a place for his loved creation to burn for eternity.. Now do not give me that it was created for the Angels.. Still the God you are portraying burns his creation for eternity.. hmm is that who I want to pay tithes to?

    I find if you think through the entire message the church is giving it has some Major holes in it.. Now.. if I go with All are saved under Christ lots of those holes get filled in.. I do not worship a schizofrenia God anymore but one who stays the same.

    • Praise God.
      God made all of us in his own image and he also blessed us with free will. Yes there’s evil satanic circle on the earth where your will is free to put step inside that circle or not, and remain a blessed one because it’s God grace and mercy not yours who anointed us by shedding his holy blood, whip off of his flesh and get nailed.

    • Hello Tracy. I red your comments and I will give you my answer. Never true Christian will go and judge somebody who don’t know Jesus Christ. True Christian man or women would like to shout to the world that they need accept Jesus Christ. Bible said, don’t judge , you will be judge. Every person must know what to do. Everybody got bible and can read from the beginning until the end, and do they own destination. Its personal friendship between us and God. Christian who judge, its between him and God. May be next day he remember what he said and ask God for forgiveness and God will forgive this person. Again Personal friendship. Don’t look what others do and say, only look at your self and where are you standing. God never create hell. This place belongs to other entity. If you want to know more about what will happened after you die, watch programs on you tube – near dead experience.

    • We must refrain from judging God’s will over our lives and focus on the fact that He as the creator of everything has the full right to do with us what we deserve.
      We must not be vain and stiff necked about God’s word as shocking as the promise of hell is, it is there because there is evil and other enemies of God’s people who have given the same choice as you and I … follow the path of the evil one or surrender to God’s will
      REF: Jeremiah 18 might switch the light on to this subject more clearly as well as Mathew 11:15. I am only responding as I too was once rebellious and questioned how a loving God could hurt his own creation…but we must submit and surrender – ours is not to question but to be obedient. We do not know all the secrets of God but true love accepts without argument. God Bless you

  10. It is very tragic that even some Christians believe that after all they are human and if their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds, the loving God will overlook their faults and give them a place in heaven.

    There are also those who consider sins of commission but do not show the same concern to sins of omission.

  11. Thank you for sharing this powerful message. I am a believer. Praise God this Easter season for all he has done for us. We love you and adore you Lord Jesus, God the Father and the Holy Spirit. Burn in us the desire to know you more.

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