As his friends and family sat in solemn silence at the man’s funeral, the invited pastor delivered the message to put the remarkable man’s life in perspective. Family members had extolled the man’s character and comforted themselves with the assurance that he was sure to be in heaven. Nevertheless, and to the surprise of everybody, the pastor said, “None of the good things that the man did while he was alive earned him one second in heaven”. The Pastor continued, “He is there because he accepted God’s salvation by grace through faith in Christ.” The Pastor quoted Ephesians 2:8-9 thus:
“8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
It is indeed scripturally true. No matter how remarkable our lives or achievements are, we cannot earn heaven. We do not earn heaven by our good works or by our own efforts, but to be in heaven is ONLY “by grace through faith in Jesus Christ”. One who goes to heaven must have known, believed with all his heart, soul, mind and strength and accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, and has repented of his sins.
The story of one of the criminals believed to be a thief, who was crucified with Christ is one good example. He believed the deity of Jesus Christ as evidenced by his rebuking the other unbelieving criminal, and who, by his own words spoken while hanging in the cross, believed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God or God himself in human form.
Thus, the Bible says, eternal life is a gift from God. Let us examine our life. As religious and well-loved as we may be, we won’t go to heaven unless we accept God’s gift of eternal life. We must believe, confess, repent and ask Jesus Christ to forgive our sins. That will make our life truly remarkable.
The ABCs of Salvation: Admit we are a sinner (Rom. 3:23). Believe in Christ who died for us (John 3:16). Confess Him as our only Savior and Lord (Rom. 10:9-10).
(FGBMFI Davao City Chapter Weekly Bulletin, January 26, 2013)