How Good is Good Enough?
Since nobody’s perfect, how good is good enough?
Pretend for a moment that out of nowhere, a coconut fell from the sky, bonked you on the head and you get killed. Don’t worry about where the coconut came from - humor me. When you open your eyes, you’re standing before God and he simply says to you, “Do you think I should let you into my house?”
Your response is quick and obvious, “Yes, of course you should!”
Now, it should be noted that whenever I have this conversation in real life, the vast majority (say 95% of people) say that God should let them into heaven, into his house.
His follow up question is simple, “Why should I let you in?”
At this point in time, you probably would have all sorts of thoughts related to what you have done and what you didn’t do during your life. Your thought process might sound something like this: “I’ve lived a pretty good life. I have tried to do the right thing. I have made mistakes, but I have fessed up to them and tried to make up for it. I helped some old ladies. At the end of the day, I’m not perfect, but I hope I am good enough.”
If it were your house and you were the person acting as the gatekeeper, that might be perfectly acceptable. Your standards of good might be different from someone else’s standards of good, and, chances are, you pass your own test.
The problem is that it isn’t your house. It’s God’s house. And, if it is God’s house, who do you think should determine the rules for his house? God, of course. In all my years of talking this through with people, I have never had someone suggest otherwise.
Did you know that God clearly lists the rules that you have to keep if you want to be good enough to enter into his house when you die? Let’s mention a couple of his rules.
No lying. Have you ever lied? Don’t say no, because then I would know you’re a liar. We’ve all lied. Well, if I have lied (and probably still do through everything from white lies on whether I bought retail on the internet to exaggerating my fishing stories), what does that make me? A liar.
No stealing. Have you ever stolen something regardless of value, be that cheating on a test in Middle School or not claiming your taxes in their entirety? By God’s rules, you are a confessed thief.
What about murder? Have you ever killed anyone? Most likely not, but Jesus taught that if you even look at your fellow human with hatred, it is no different than actually pulling the trigger.
Committed adultery? Jesus taught that if you even look at another person with lust in your heart it is just as bad as physically committing the act of cheating.
So, by my own confession (and probably yours), when I die, I will stand before God and boldly proclaim, “Well, God, I am a lying, thieving, murdering adulterer, but deep down - once you get to know me - I’m actually a pretty good guy.”
In my conversations, I always ask people, “Now, if you were God, based upon his rules, would you let you in based upon being ‘good enough?’”
Can I tell you that I have never had a person say, “I would let me in.” Every person I have talked to (who allowed me to get this far into the conversation) has willfully admitted, “I wouldn’t let me in, and neither will God if you are right.”
What’s the point? You can’t be good enough. Nobody can. Perfection is the standard and anything short of perfection is missing the bullseye and only the bullseye is good enough to get you in.
If the story ended there, it would be a bad story… but it doesn’t stop there!
It would be fair for God to not let anyone in to heaven, into his house, but God doesn’t opt to do what is fair. He actually decides to do what is unfair. In this case, what is an unfair decision? To let bad people go to heaven (hint: that’s you and me) by making forgiveness available to them.
In the ultimate display of UNfairness, God sent Jesus Christ - God in the flesh - to live a perfect ‘good enough’ life and, rather than being rewarded for it, die a murderer's death.
The only reason anyone can go to heaven, is not because they were good enough. The only reason someone doesn’t go to heaven is not because they were too bad. None of us are good enough and all of us are beyond bad. The determining factor in heaven and hell isn’t fairness, but forgiveness, and that forgiveness is only found in trusting and following Jesus Christ. Is he who he says he is? Has he done what he says he has done? Will he do what he says he will do?
Want to learn more? Come to Revolve Church or any of the other churches participating in the Explore God sermon series this coming Sunday. For more information, including more articles and videos like this, check out www.exploregod.com.