Who goes to heaven?
“I’m a pretty good person. I’m going to heaven for sure.”
“I’m nice. Definitely I’m going to heaven.”
“I’m certainly not a Hitler! It’s people like serial killers or dictators that won’t go to heaven.”
If you’re like me, you hear comments like that all the time. I used to think that I was nice enough and that I was headed for heaven too.
But then a little worm of doubt would set in. I’m nice, most people are nice, but if that was true why is the world like it is? Why would heaven be any different than earth if all the same people just transfer from here to there?
In witnessing to people and telling them they are sinners as I am, they reject almost instantly the notion that their sins would prevent them from going to heaven. This is because they compare their sins to other people, and always the worst people, of course. Hitler, Idi Amin, OJ Simpson, Jeffrey Dahmer… now those are some bad people. I’m not like them. Ergo, I am heaven bound.
Trying to let people know the level of their depravity is a hard task. Even most Christians don’t truly understand the depths to which our sin have plunged. I’m reminded often by the Holy Spirit that no matter how wretched I know I am, there are still many layers of muck I can sink to. I’m often astonished at how deep my sin goes.
We’re not good. We’re bad. As a matter of fact, we’re a lot worse than we think.
Unsaved people will balk at this truth. We’re wretched, really putrid. Here is an example from the bible of how wretched we are.
As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.
But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. (Acts 16:16-19).
Notwithstanding the issue of slavery, the owners of the girl were using her to get rich. She had a demon and that demon could access the world behind the veil and prophesy unknown things. Since people have always been curious about the future and what is hidden to us, they paid good money to hear fortunes told.
When the owners saw that their means of gain was gone, they roused a riot and went to the lawmakers and decision-makers for redress.
They did not celebrate that the girl had been delivered. They were not happy that her very body was now released from use by a potent spirit. They did not care that this young, vulnerable girl had been used by demons. They were only ticked that their fortune was vaporizing.
This is exactly the same situation as a child molester kingpin now ticked that his best girl had been saved out of his grip. Exactly. The. Same. This is deep wretchedness. We are sinners through and through. Do not think for a moment that your sin (and mine) is not as bad. It is and it could and would wax worse and worse had not the Lord saved your soul.
This link goes to a short bio of this young girl from BibleGateway, called All the Women of the Bible: The Demon-Possessed Damsel. It is extremely interesting.
We are wretches, sinners and we are due the righteous penalty for our sin. But God…if not for Him…if not for His proactive election of those who would become His… Oh! Oh!
We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19).
He loved us despite our wretchedness. He loved us despite our dirtiness. He loved us anyway. I’m eternally grateful for His love. I’m eternally relieved He has dealt with my sin. It is now forgotten, nailed to the cross, and as far from the east is from the west.
Thank you Lord for dealing with my wretched sin in this magnificent way you have ordained.