Monday, June 26, 2006

How Do You Really Get to Heaven?

Crosses009Most religions will tell you that you must do this and you must do that to get to heaven. You must be good and that your good works must be more than your bad deeds. It's like a scoring system.

I want you to reflect on this story about the last few moments of Jesus on the cross along with two criminals. Please read it carefully.

One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, "So you're the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself--and us, too, while you're at it!"

But the other criminal protested, "Don't you fear God even when you are dying? We deserve to die for our evil deeds, but this man hasn't done anything wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom."

And Jesus replied, "I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise."

(Luke 23:39-43 The New Living Translation)

I know most of you are familiar with this story. Some will say it is about two criminals the one bad and the other good, the one remained evil and the one changed. But there is something you may have not realized one of them is going to heaven while the other isn't. If we have to do lots of good things to go to heaven why is this criminal going up there all so suddenly! No more good works, can't help his fellow man,can't even talk about Jesus to other people!

Yet Jesus says the criminal will be with Him in paradise!

Just like the criminal we must realize that on our own we can't make it to heaven. Why? It is found in the Bible that...

"For all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious standard." (Romans 3:23 NLT)

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God,— not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV)

If we have fallen off God's standard because of our sin then who can save us? Just like the criminal, he realized soon enough, it was the One with him, Jesus Christ.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16 NIV)

If you admit you are a sinner just like what the criminal did and you realize that because of this, no matter what you do, you can't go to heaven on your own, then ask Christ to take you with Him. He is your only chance!

Please Read: Am I Good Enough To Go To Heaven?

Note: The NLT (New Living Translation) and the NIV (New International Translation) are Bible translations. I've used different translations so as to make the point clearer in the verse I cited.

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