Religion, salvation, and good works have come up in recent conversation, or more specifically, a deeply regretful movie I saw last night. Really, though, it’s one of the most important questions a soul can ever ask.
Is there eternity? Can I go to heaven?
If there is a God, holy and pure, and I’m only human, frail and filthy, how could heaven be possible? How could I ever be in the presence of that? Righteousness so supreme that everything else burns away like tattered paper in a nuclear blast? Even on our very best of days, eternal sinlessness is shockingly, pathetically, absolutely unattainable for such a mortal as myself…
But if God is both holy and loving, how does that reconcile? Knowing the chasm between sinful us and holy Him, he built a bridge. Jesus. And no, we can’t earn this kind of love, it can only be a gift. Nothing so profane as flesh could ever work enough to be worthy of such selfless sacrifice. I’ve tried, and after years of fruitless toil, I better understand now that it’s simply impossible. This doesn’t mean I don’t keep falling for the same old lies, trying on my own, time after time, but it really is miserable foolishness.
When you read the Bible, I think it becomes clear…
Jesus isn’t for the self-righteous, the posers and fakes. Jesus isn’t for the pseudo-perfect, the good-enough, or the just-ok. Jesus isn’t for the people who think they can make it on their own; acting faultless and behaving right, dying from the inside while somehow believing they’re still healthy on the outside.
Jesus is for the shipwrecks, the train wrecks, the bloody messes and the tragedies. Jesus is for the lonely, the lost, the terrified and the broken hearted. Jesus is for the damned, the discouraged, the degraded, the destitute and the utterly, completely desperate.
I’m not a Christian because I’m good. I don’t seek after Christ because I somehow think I’m perfect.
I long for salvation because I know without a single shred of doubt that I am fully rotten through-and-through, sinful and hopeless and dead.
Yet somehow, in His absolute perfectness…
…God still loves me…
…and died in my place.
I certainly don’t understand it, I rather doubt many people do, but it’s somehow, unbelievable, incredibly true, despite my frequent doubts and fears.
Christ is for the shipwrecks, the desperate, the lost. I’ve been there, and really, still am every day.
But I’m placing my trust in Jesus.
And that’s why I’m going to heaven when I die. That bridge? It can’t be walked by human feet, you have to be carried.
And that’s incredible.
“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 NLT