“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ – Matthew 7:21-23
Many people think being a Christian is all about treating people fairly, doing to others what you want them to do to you, always doing the right thing in your life. While those are all good things, none of them makes a person a Christian.
Jesus said there would be people who do miracles and preach in his name and still not go to heaven. Only those who do the will of God are going to heaven. If I keep the Ten Commandments then, does that make me a Christian?
No, because I can’t keep the Ten Commandments. For God requires that not only my actions be perfectly conformed to his holy will, he also commands the same for my words and even my thoughts! Don’t murder includes not yelling in anger at the crazy driver who cut me off in traffic. Don’t steal includes not complaining about the lack of things in my life that I see others having in theirs. Don’t commit adultery includes not doing anything that hurts my marriage–-ignoring or criticizing my spouse.
Despite my many failures to obey God’s commands, I know I am going to heaven. I’m absolutely certain! How can I be sure?
Jesus gave his life for me. He kept all the Ten Commandments in my place. He offered his life as payment for all the sins I’ve done – the complaining and hurting and yelling and thousands of other sinful actions, words, and thoughts.
I’m going to heaven because of Jesus. Nothing I do. Nothing I can do. Jesus has done it all for me. Not because I founded an orphanage or gave blood numerous times to the Red Cross or did other “Christian works.” Jesus will welcome me home because he fulfilled God’s will perfectly as my substitute. Heaven is his gift to me.
Even better, heaven is Jesus’ gift to you also. Being a Christian is not about what you do. Being a Christian is trusting Jesus who has done everything for you. He has forgiven you at the cost of his own life.
Prayer: Jesus, forgive me for taking false pride in the Christian things I do. Thanks for your unearned love and forgiveness, and the gift of heaven which you give to me by faith alone. Help me do the right things and treat people fairly as a simple way of thanking you for your gift of heaven. Amen.