Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:6 (ESV)
We take another little break from the ATBOB series to think about something I feel is important for us to discuss.
The other evening, I caught an episode of a Netflix show called “The Good Place.” It’s set in the afterlife, where after an administrative mix up, a woman named Elenor is mistakenly let into the Good Place (heaven).
The program makes no mention of God, and in fact states that all of the major religions on Earth are only about 2% correct.
How do you get into the Good Place? Well, according to the show, every action you take on Earth is scored and recorded. “Good” actions lead to a higher score, and only those with the highest of scores end up in the Good Place. Everyone else ends up in the Bad Place.
Similarly, when I was younger, I remember a TV show where the main character died and found himself at the pearly gates. He met St Peter, who then evaluated his life. Peter had a set of scales and every good action – represented by a white ball – was placed on one side, and every bad action – represented by a black ball – was put on the other side. If the scales tipped to the good, you were allowed into heaven.
I’m not sure where these sort of myths originated, but there are still many who essentially believe that if you lead a generally good life, then you will get into heaven.
But what is “good”? Or rather, what is good enough?
I can see why such thinking is popular. If there’s no standard of good, then we can just compare ourselves to others and grade on a curve. “I may not be the best, but i’m better than that guy…” Thus we justify being good enough.
Let me say categorically that none of this thinking is biblical.
Imagine this for a moment – you are on one side of a chasm, and heaven is on the other. You must jump across to reach heaven. The problem is that the chasm is a mile wide. It doesn’t matter if you jump ten feet or twenty, you’re still going to fall. It makes no sense to say, “At least I jumped further than them!” Because neither of you will make it.
The standard is not set by how we measure up against each other, but how we measure up against God.
God sets out His perfect standard in His Word. The Israelites lived under the Law of Moses, and that Law was given to show them how they ought to live. They misunderstood. They thought they could follow every command and fulfil every aspect of the Law. Wrong! The Law was intended to show them that they couldn’t fulfil it, and that they needed saving!
Here in the 21st century, we are no better off. Most people don’t even recognise God’s Word as a standard anymore, let alone try to fulfil every aspect of it. Likewise, we too need a Saviour!
While some believe living “good enough” will get them into heaven, others believe that there are many roads to heaven. This is another deception.
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Matthew 7:13-14 (NIV)
Being better than other people won’t get you into heaven. Following the teachings of Buddha or other “holy” person won’t get you there. Worshiping a false god won’t work, nor will earning a fortune and giving it all away. You can sit in church every week for your entire lifetime, and that won’t do it either.
Sitting in a church doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than sitting in a garage would make you a car (I think Joyce Meyer said that…).
There is only one way to heaven. And that Way is Jesus Christ.
I know this is not a popular view, and many consider it closed minded and not diverse. Some may think me arrogant, saying “What makes him think he’s right over all of the other religions?” The only answer I can give is – it’s true.
Jesus is the only way to get to heaven. If I were to say anything else to you today, I would be deceiving you. I appreciate you must come to that decision on your own, and I completely respect anyone who disagrees or comes to a different decision. But I believe it is my responsibility to tell you the truth. And, on the off chance that I’m right, I want to give you every opportunity to come to Jesus right now.
As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!
Galatians 1:9 (NIV)
When you die (not wishing to be morbid), you will stand before God and give an account for your life. It won’t be about what “good” you did or didn’t do, and it won’t be about anyone else. It will be about what you did with Jesus – God’s Only Son.
The Bible teaches that one day, Jesus will return. Irrespective of what you believe about that, none of us will live forever on this Earth, and will one day have to face our mortality. When that time comes, I want you to be prepared. Don’t put it off. Don’t wait. Make a choice for Christ TODAY.
Many may say it’s one way or another to heaven, but it’s not. It’s only One Way. And His name is Jesus.
If you are ready to make that choice today, have a read of my blog from Resurrection Sunday or listen to the accompanying talk. In there, I set out the Gospel – or Good News – about Jesus. You can believe in Him right now, and pray that Jesus will come and be the Lord and Saviour of your life. If you do, please contact me as I’d love to celebrate with you.