Sunday, November 15, 2015

Will Being a "Good Person" get us into Heaven? (Parable of the Rich Man)

Today's Reading:
  • Luke 18:18 - 18:43
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Luke 18:18 - 18:43

Today's reading was a short one, and the primary story in it is the Parable of the Rich Man. This is a man who asked Jesus what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus responded by telling him to sell everything he had and give to the poor, then follow Jesus. Jesus then said that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. This ended with people wondering who on earth could possibly be saved? The answer Jesus gave was simple: "What is impossible for people is possible for God" (18:25). We need to make sure we are putting the Lord ahead of our money, and all other aspects of our lives. But none of that matters by itself - we must rely on the saving power of Jesus Christ to gain eternal life.

The single verse that stood out for me in this reading was Luke 18:19, where Jesus spoke to the rich man:
"Why do you call me good?" Jesus asked him. "Only God is truly good."
This is such a powerful verse. Of course we know that Jesus was both God and human, but at that time it was not yet realized. This slight correction is so powerful. No matter how good we think we are, no one is truly good. We all fall short of the glory of God. Every single human to walk the earth, with the exception of Jesus Christ, has sinned. Being a "good" person cannot get you into Heaven. I feel like many people live their lives, expecting karma to take care of them. If they are "good" people, if they do good things, if they are nice to others - then whatever awaits them in the afterlife is justly earned. But that is not the way it works at all. We need the precious blood of Jesus to be cleaned, to be good, to be redeemed, and to enter Heaven. There is nothing - absolutely nothing - that we can do by ourselves to earn this, besides believing that Jesus Christ is Messiah whose sinless blood redeemed our souls, made us clean and tore the veil. Believe, repent, and be saved.

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