How Good People Miss Heaven
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It wasn't part of the day that I had planned, but it was an invitation I couldn't refuse. A friend asked me on the spur of the moment if I'd go to lunch with him. He was paying. Not a hard decision. What I didn't know was that my friend was taking me to a private club where he was a member. We're talking like upscale dining here. I was wearing a dress shirt and slacks which made me among the best-dressed at McDonald's. But apparently it left me sadly underdressed for this private club. The host gently informed me that a suit coat or sport jacket was required for entrance. As I was about to give my friend my takeout order, the host reached into a closet and produced a sport coat. He said, "Just wear this." I did. It was a great place and a great lunch. And did I mention he paid? Oh yeah.
I didn't have what it took to get into that place. Thankfully, the man in charge provided what I needed to get in.
Surveys tell us that a large majority of Americans expect to go to heaven when they die. The Bible, which is really God's roadmap to heaven, indicates that a lot us may be facing the most tragic surprise imaginable after we take our last breath. A lot of people who think they have what it takes to get into heaven are going to be turned away. Unless they take what God has provided for sin-stained people like you and me to get into His sin-free heaven.
In Matthew 22, our word for today from the Word of God, Jesus told a story to help us see how good people will miss heaven. He told about a king who invited many guests to the wedding banquet for his son. In those days, when you got to the entrance to the wedding facility, they would give you a special wedding garment if you were an invited guest. It instantly identified who belonged there.
In that story, Jesus said, "But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 'Friend,' he asked, 'how did you get in here without wedding clothes?' The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, 'Tie him hand and foot and throw him outside into the darkness."
The man who had not received the king's provision for entering his celebration was not allowed to be there. That's the tragedy that Jesus came to avoid, because He loves you. He wants you in heaven with Him forever, and because we can't possibly get in on our own merits. And honestly, that's a shocker to most of us nice religious folks. We're thinking that surely we'll get into heaven somehow based on our church or on the good we do. But Romans 3:20 makes it crystal clear that "no one will be declared righteous in His sight by observing the law." No one's good enough to meet the holy standard of a perfect God. No one's going to heaven because they're good.
But Romans 3 continues by telling that the owner of heaven has provided a goodness that will get us into heaven through Jesus Christ. It took the awful death of God's Son on a cross to pay the eternal death penalty that you and I deserve. Only the man who paid for our sin can forgive our sin and remove our sin. As the Bible says, "This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe." In other words, you tell Jesus, "Lord, I can't possibly get into heaven based on my church, my religion, my goodness. If I could, You wouldn't have died for me. So I'm pinning all my hopes for heaven on You, Jesus. I'm Yours."
That's when God wraps you in the robe you have to have to be in heaven; the robe of Jesus' goodness. It's got to be all Jesus and nothing of you or it will never be enough for God. It's possible you've been around Jesus a lot, but maybe you've never given yourself to Him, which puts you in the spiritual danger zone. I'm praying that today will be the day that you do the only thing you can do to belong to God and get into His heaven, and that's put all your trust in what Jesus has done on the cross.
At our website, I've got a brief explanation there of just how to begin this personal, life-saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Just go to YoursForLife.net. Or I'll send you a printed copy of my booklet Yours For Life if you'll just call this toll-free number - 877-741-1200.
When your heart has beaten for the last time, there's only one thing that God will be looking for at the gates of eternity: Jesus, His Son, with His arm around you saying, "This one's with Me."