Are You Good Enough?

Are you good enough to go to heaven? Notice that I did not ask if you were good. When asked that question, most people may take some time to reflect upon their lives and conclude that they are basically good, especially when they compare their lives to certain others. However, when the matter at hand has to do with heaven and eternal life, are you good enough?

If I were to ask you how well you are doing at keeping the 10 Commandments (see Exodus 20), how would you answer? Would you say that you keep them all perfectly, every day of your life? How about some of them? Have you ever lied? Have you ever taken the Lord’s name in vain? Have you ever wanted something that belongs to someone else? Have you ever stolen anything? Regarding the commandments about murder and adultery, Jesus tells us in Matthew 5.21-22 and 5.28 that if you are angry with another or look at a woman or man with a lustful eye, than you are guilty of murder and adultery, respectively. So, how well are you doing at keeping the 10 Commandments? How well are you doing at keeping just one of them, perfectly?  Therefore, are you good enough?

If someone comes to your door and they ask, “Can I come in?” who decides whether or not they may enter? Does the person outside your house decide? No, you decide who can enter and who cannot. In a similar way, God is the one who determines who enters into heaven and who does not. The truth is He only allows entrance to those who are good enough.

The bad news for you and me is this: When God looks at us, He knows that we are not good enough. If you are honest with yourself, you must admit that you are not good enough. Left to myself, I know that I am not. In fact, the Bible tells us in Romans 3.10 that there is no one who is righteous. Romans 3.23 tells you and me that we are sinners who have not measured up to the holy standard of God. This is why you and I will one day die. “For the payment for sin is death.” (Romans 6.23) So, is there any good news for those who know that they are not good enough to enter into heaven? Thankfully, there is. 

When Jesus Christ came into this world, He lived a perfect life. He was not guilty of one sin all His days.  He perfectly obeyed the 10 Commandments and all of God’s holy requirements. So why did He die? The reason He died was not due to His own sin, but for the sin of all who would one day believe in Him as the One who died for them. On the cross, Jesus willingly took upon Himself the punishment that sinners deserve. He took their place as a substitute. Therefore, the righteousness that He earned by His perfect life is transferred or imputed to the person who trusts in Him. One verse that describes this best is 2 Corinthians 5.21 – “For our sake He (God) made Him who knew no sin (Jesus) to be sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” A second verse would be Hebrews 10.14 – “For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”

So, are you good enough to enter into heaven? If you are hoping in your good behavior, a mission trip, your tithing record, your church attendance, your attempts at the 10 Commandments, or not being as bad as some other people – be honest with yourself – you are not good enough. You have failed in one way or another. But, when you confess to God that you are a sinner who has sinned against Him – when you believe in Jesus, the One who died for sinners like you and rose from the dead to prove that His death was sufficient to satisfy the justice of God – then, God will declare you righteous – He will declare you good enough. Not because of your own innate righteousness, for there was none. But because of the righteousness of Jesus Christ that was imputed to you. 

Dear reader, you are not good enough to save yourself and neither am I. Follow the example of the man in Luke 18.13 who also knew that he was not good enough. What did he do? We are told that he would not even lift his eyes to heaven, but beat his chest saying, “God be merciful to me a sinner!” What does Jesus say about that man? He went down to his house justified. He went away good enough to be allowed entrance into heaven. Not because of what he did, but because of what Jesus Christ had done for Him.