by Buzz Dahlen
Too many people these days still believe that a person goes to heaven because they are “good enough.” No one is good enough to go to heaven. There is nothing that you can do to do enough to earn the right to go to heaven. What we are talking about here is eternal life with God. What could a person do to deserve spending eternity with God? There is nothing! So how do we get to heaven? Different religions offer different answers, but the bible says that no one comes to the Father except through Jesus Christ. Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6
You see salvation is a free gift, God’s gift to those who believe. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 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: 4-9
Now all of this is not to say that we should not do good works. God’s gift of salvation is note a free ticket to sin and keep on sinning. God created us for more then that. Paul continues in verse 10; For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. That does not mean that we will not ever sin again, sin happens. No, we should strive to do good as often as it is possible, not because we want to be accepted into heaven, but so we can please and glorify God. Also, we minister to those around us when we do “good works.” We bless others and we ourselves are blessed when we do good things. It is also a good way to show our appreciation for all the good that God has done for us.
No, just because God’s gift of salvation is free, we are not encouraged to keep on sinning. Paul writes; What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Romans 6:1-2
In his letter to the Ephesians Paul communicates that we are expected to make some changes in our lives after we have accepted our gift of salvation: You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:20-32