Ned Anzers: Don’t all good people go to heaven?
Most people think that they are good? But by who’s standard are they judging their goodness?
I was not a very bright kid. In fact, I was in the special class and took the short bus to school. One thing I was good at was art. I like to draw and I like to write. Now I thought, I was pretty good at these skills, but when I compared my art to Van Gogh or Rembrandt, and my writing to Shakespeare or Steve King I was quite humbled. A lesson I learned very early in my life: How good I think I am teeter on who I compare myself with.
Have you ever been there?
How good is good enough? And don’t all good people go to heaven? You know, there was a man in the Bible who had the same question for Jesus. He wants to go to heaven (who doesn’t), and he assumes there is something he must “do”. We will spend the rest of my answer jumping into their conversation…
1. No one is good, except God (Mk.10:17-18)
Now, I know lots of people that are good. In fact, I know some really good people (give lots of money to charities, help the elderly, etc.), but they do not have a relationship with Jesus. Surely, they are good enough, right?
Now I challenge you to make 2 lists. On the first list write down all the good things you have down. On the second list write down al the good things God has done. There should be no comparison. When we compare ourselves to God we seem really bad. Remember, How good I think I am teeter on who I compare myself with.
2. No one is good because we do not measure up to God’s standard (vs.19-20)
This man thinks that he is good. Good enough to get to heaven. Jesus rolls out the standard. He shares with this man the 10 Commandments; only he leaves out a few (Ex.20). What this man doesn’t realize is that he has broken all of them, and will do it again soon.
3. Goodness = gladly obeying what God says (vs.21-22)
Jesus lovingly and patiently shows the man that there are some commandments he has not obeyed. In essence, when He asks the man to sell all and give all He is getting at the man’s heart. The commandment this man is breaking is, “You shall not have no other gods before me.” The man’s money has become an idol. God says, “You shall not make for yourselves idols.” If this man really wanted God, He would have gladly obeyed.
What would you have done if you were in this mans shoes? What treasure on this earth would keep you from heaven?
So do I have to give everything away (like money) to get to heaven? No.
4. Goodness = putting nothing before God (v.21)
Jesus did not say we go to heaven because we give to the poor, but because we do not give a second thought to God. The heart problem is I put things before God. The man loved things, more than God. Therefore, he is no good at all. He walks away from God sad, what a tragedy. The god He has created becomes greater than the God who created Him. This is sin. At the heart of man is evil (Mk.7:21-23).
What is your idol that you put before God? Cash, sex, status, getting A’s, sports, boyfriend or girlfriend?
5. Goodness = giving God the credit where credit is due (Mt.22:36-38)
Is there hope for me to become good? Yes. The only goodness I have has been merited to me from God. He is good, and I am not. But I can have a good standing based upon God’s goodness through Jesus Christ. God wants the credit, glory and love. God’s love is infinitely awesome and yet our sin is infinitely horrifying.
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