Is it true that no one is good enough to get into heaven? How can we know that to be certain? Pastor Colin talks about what it takes to enter heaven and why no human being is capable going to heaven by themselves.
So often the message that the world seems to send us is, “If you live a good enough life, maybe you can make your way into heaven.” But this story is pointing at just the opposite, right?
Yeah, it really is. There’s no way in the world that the thief was good enough. He was dying on the cross because he’s a thief! He’s not lived a good life. And that’s why this is such an important story. This is telling us about someone who did not live a good life getting into heaven. Jesus says, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” God saves people who are ungodly. Now that’s what gives hope because, actually, none of us are good enough.
If you really take the life that God has called us to live seriously – I mean, even just take the Ten Commandments, the first one: “Love God with all your heart” – Jesus says that’s the first commandment. “With all of your heart and soul and mind and strength.” Who’s done that for even one day, with everything that’s within me? No. We have not done that. We have not kept the commandments. None of us even at our best has done that.
That why Jesus Christ is unique. Only he has lived a life that is really pleasing to God. So actually when you see that we’re all in this category of not being enough – that’s what brings the thief’s story to life. How does a person who hasn’t lived a good enough life get into heaven? It’s because of the promise of Jesus. Jesus was the one who, dying on the cross, said, “It is finished.” And what he had finished was he had completed living a perfect life, which none of us has lived, and he was completing the process of dying as our sin-bearer, bearing the sins that we have committed, so that he carried them into his death so that none of us would carry them into ours.
That’s hope, and it’s hope for every person, and actually it’s the beginning of real life-change when we come to see that our hope is not in ourselves, but it’s in Jesus.