Are You A Good Person?

Dear Friend,

Are you a good person?

I would imagine your answer to this question would be something along the lines of, “Well, I’m not perfect, but I guess I am basically a good person. I’m certainly not that bad of a person – there are lots of people worse than me. I do what I can.” I think most people have a tendency to want to believe that they are basically good, even those that most of us would judge to be “bad” people.

A lot of evangelists like to start off talking about Christ with some variation of the question: Do you know where you are going after you die? And a lot of people believe that they will go to heaven after they die because they believe they are a good person. They think that God will take the “good” stuff that they’ve done and put it on one side of a giant scale and if it outweighs the “bad” stuff He piles on the other side of the scale, then they get to go to heaven. If they get more checkmarks than red marks in life, then they deserve to pass, right?

That may sound all good and fair (as long as we’re one of the ones that get in) but it can get pretty complicated. How does one judge whether an act was “good” or “bad?” If I give money to the poor, but I’m doing so in order to get into heaven, is that a “good” act? Or is it deemed “bad” because my motives were selfish? Who decides whether something is good or bad or how many points it gets on the good or bad scale (in other words, was it really good or just kind of good?) If God decides, where are the guidelines that set out exactly how good we need to be to get into heaven? The Bible? Good answer. Let’s take a look.

The Bible says something completely different on this issue. The Bible says clearly that none of us are good people. (Romans 3:10 is one example) According to the Bible, if we have ever sinned in any way, we are guilty of it all (James 2:10) and the penalty for our sin is death. (Romans 6:23)

Many people never see a need in their life for Christ because they don’t realize or can’t accept the fact that the minimum standard for admission into heaven is perfection – not the good merely outweighing the bad. I believe this is one of the biggest obstacles keeping people from coming to faith in Jesus.

You see, God is a perfectly holy and perfectly just God – He tells us this in the Bible. Whether we have murdered someone or simply told a lie, none of us has lived without sinning. And as soon as we have sinned in any way, we have forfeited the ability to be in the presence of a holy God. I pointed out in my last “letter” that God is revealing himself to you. But our sin has to be dealt with before reconciliation is possible.

Here’s the problem: we are powerless to do anything about our sin. If it were left up to us, every last one of us would die in our sin and spend eternity separated from God – because justice demands that penalty for our sin.

The good news is that God did not leave it up to us. Jesus Christ came down to earth to save us from this sin problem. He paid the penalty for us. The Bible says that before that first Christmas, the angel told Joseph that Mary would “give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Please don’t be misled to think you are going to get into heaven because you have led a good life. Just like me, you need a savior.

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