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The Most Important Question
The most important question in life is, “Am I good enough to go to Heaven?” To answer this, first you must consider what God is like. The Bible says God is Holy, just, perfect, all knowing, all powerful, full of grace and mercy; but “will not allow the wicked to go unpunished.” (Isaiah 6:3, Exodus 34:5-7). To see how you stand with God, compare yourself to His standard, the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20). Have you obeyed them? Here are just a few to check:
"You shall have no other gods before Me." Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30). Have you always put God first? If not, then you have broken this commandment.
"You shall not make for yourself any graven image." You are not to make any idols and worship them instead of God. This can be a statue, self, money, family, or an incorrect concept of God. The Bible warns that idolaters will NOT enter Heaven (Ephesians 5:5).
"You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain." Have you ever used God’s Name as a curse word? If so, then you’re a blasphemer. God promises to hold those accountable who take His Name in vain. (Deuteronomy 5:11).
"You shall not murder." Jesus said if you hate your brother; then you’ve murdered him in your heart (Matthew 5:22). If you’ve done this, you’re a murderer and will not inherit eternal life. (1 John 3:15).
"You shall not commit adultery." Jesus said, “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). The Bible states, “fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4). If you’ve lusted after someone you're not married to, or had sex outside of marriage, you’re an adulterer under God’s judgment.
"You shall not steal." Regardless of value, theft is taking anything that doesn't belong to you. The Bible says, “let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor” (Ephesians 4:28). Theft includes refusing to pay debts, downloading illegal software or music, or ripping people off. Thieves will NOT enter eternal life. (1 Corinthians 6:10).
"You shall not bear false witness." God states that lying is an abomination (Proverbs 6:17) and “and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire” (Revelation 21:8). If you tell even ONE lie, then you are a LIAR in God’s eyes.
All have sinned, and the Bible says, "For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10). When we compare ourselves to God's Law, we can see that we are idolaters, blasphemers, liars, murderers, adulterers, and thieves at heart. If we're honest, we would admit that we have broken ALL of these commandments, numerous times.
A Terrifying Truth
The most TERRIFYING truth in the Bible is this... God is GOOD. Why is that terrifying? God is good, and we are not. Where does that leave us? Justice must be done. Imagine being guilty in court and saying to the judge, "I’m guilty but I believe you’re a good man and you will overlook my crimes," the judge would respond, "You’re right, I am a good man; and because of my goodness I’m going to see that justice is done." If God is good, He MUST punish sinners. Any sin is an infinite offence against a Holy God. God’s just punishment is called Hell (eternal flames and darkness - Mark 9:48, Matt 8:12). Because you have a conscience, every time you sinned it was with knowledge it was wrong, and this condemns you (Romans 2:15).
Here is the great dilemma; the Bible says that it is evil to justify the wicked (Proverbs 17:15), so how can a Holy God justify sinners without violating justice and being evil Himself?
Guilty as Charged
Imagine yourself in a courtroom as a criminal, guilty of serious crimes. You are tried, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison, or a fine of a million dollars. As the guard leads you away, the judge himself then steps down and pays your fine in full. You're free to go! Though you are guilty of the crimes, your fine has been paid! Justice has been satisfied, and the judge showed himself to be both merciful AND just.
That's what God did for us 2,000 years ago. God took on flesh in the person of Jesus Christ; who lived the sinless life that you could not. Then, because of His love, offered Himself on the cross, bearing the full wrath of God for our sin. Then on the third day, He rose from the dead and showed the penalty for sin being fully paid.
We’re guilty, but Jesus paid the fine for His people. The Bible says, "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
So what should you do? God commands you to repent and put your trust in Jesus Christ ALONE for the forgiveness of sins. Abandon the thinking that your “good works” will help you on Judgment Day. The Bible says that our good works are like “filthy rags” before God. (Isaiah 64:6) They DO NOT make up for sin. Approach God like this: Imagine a woman who has committed adultery on her husband. Does her husband want a scripted apology? Of course not. Instead, her apology should be with utmost humility, sincerity, and she should determine to never even think of committing adultery again. So cry out to God; humbly asking for mercy, confessing and forsaking your sins. Read Psalm 51 to see how King David prayed to God when he sinned.
The Bible says “But on this one will I look:
On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.” (Isaiah 66:2)
You Must Be Born Again
Jesus said, “you must be born again” (John 3:7). When you're born again spiritually, God will give you a new heart with new desires. The Holy Spirit will dwell in your heart and you will desire the things that please God. You'll want to grow in holiness and your knowledge of God through reading the Bible. You'll also have a desire to tell others about Jesus. Read your Bible daily and obey it. Find a Bible-preaching church, and fellowship with other believers.
Already consider yourself to be a Christian? The Bible commands you to “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.” read the book of 1 John and compare yourself to Scripture. To hypocrites Jesus will say, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:23). Please don’t take your salvation for granted.