Somehow, someway, people got this notion that all one needs to do to go to heaven is to be a good, moral person. Maybe it’s because of the “feel good” type preaching that so many people are hearing these days. Don’t get me wrong, preaching should make us feel good, but gospel preaching can also challenge us to do God’s will.
I’m afraid this mentality might also exist in the Lord’s church. Some people may rationalize: “I don’t have to be at every worship service to go to heaven, I just need to be a good, moral person.” Sometimes, whether we really come out and say it or not, our actions reflect this type of thinking. Apparently some Christians think that they don’t need to tell others about Jesus in order to go to heaven as long as they’re “good, moral people.” Still others may reason that they aren’t required to stand up and be different in the world in order to go to heaven as long as they’re “good, moral people.”
Ultimately, it comes down to our definition of being good and moral, doesn’t it? I think we understand how our culture views these terms. To our society, the idea of being good and moral would include avoiding things that might put us into prison or that might single us out for something that everyone else would find distasteful. Basically, it’s all about keeping up appearances and maintaining the status quo.
The problem is, that’s not true Christianity.
Jesus makes it clear that He wants us to be good (in the sense that our society uses the term), but He wants us to be more than that. We are to be servants who are anxiously watching for the time when our Master will return (Luke 12:43). When He returns, we are to be found doing what He has asked us to do.
Jesus said that only those who do the will of the Father will be permitted into heaven (Mat. 7:21). He proceeded to describe good, decent, moral people who would be shocked that they weren’t allowed entrance (verses 22 and 23). They were good by society’s standards, but they hadn’t obeyed.
Let’s wrap it up: The Lord asked, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). Christianity is about goodness, love, hope, joy, and, yes, feeling good about our souls. But it’s also about obedience. In fact, our reception to and obedience of God’s grace (Titus 2:11-12) is the very reason why we can feel so great about being a Christian. We have God’s promises that those who are faithful will receive the crown of life (Rev. 2:10).
Be a good person – by God’s standards, and look forward to heaven.
This is a partial transcript from my weekday podcast, The New You, where we focus on maintaining and accentuating the new that Christ created in each of us as Christians. A new episode is available each Monday through Friday on The Light Network. Click here to see all of the episodes.