Imagine a contest where the stated goal is: “Jump up and touch the moon.” Contestant #1 is an eighty-year-old woman with a walker. She steps up to the line and gives it all she’s got, but her jump doesn’t even register as measurable. Contestant #2 is Russell Mckinney. He steps up to the line and has a go, but his jump peaks out at about two inches. (I could have done a little better back in the day.) Contestant #3 is a bench-warmer on his high-school team. He takes his turn at the line and gets off what is easily the most impressive jump so far, which puts him in the lead. Finally, contestant #4 is NBA all-star Lebron James. His liftoff is breathtaking to watch. The muscles in his powerful legs ripple as he soars straight up into the air. Higher and higher he goes, putting so much distance between his jump and the high-schooler’s that second place isn’t even worth mentioning. When James finally comes back down he is unquestionably declared the obvious winner.
Of course, there’s one thing that shouldn’t be forgotten: the actual goal of the contest. The contest wasn’t held to see who could jump the highest. It was held to see if anyone could jump up and touch the moon. Lebron got the closest to meeting the goal, but even he failed miserably at it.
The Bible teaches that earning your way into heaven by way of “good works” is like that contest. The goal is an impossibility right from the start. Oh, sure, some may produce more “good works” than others. But, in the end, it’s laughable to think that anyone could get even remotely close to pulling of the goal. It can’t happen, and here’s why:
-Every human being is a born sinner (Romans 3:10; Romans 3:23; Ecclesiastes 7:20).
-Our inborn sin nature comes from Adam, the father of our race (Genesis 3:1-24; 1 Timothy 2:13-14; Romans 5:12).
-Our nature of sin compels us to commit acts of sin (Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:11-18).
-To break just one of God’s laws is to stand guilty of breaking them all; it’s an all-or-nothing type of deal (James 2:10).
You see, once you understand the set-up going in, you’ll realize that salvation, and by implication entrance into heaven, can NEVER come by way of “good works” (Titus 3:4-7; Ephesians 2:8-9). It is instead a gift that God gives to the sinner, a gift He extends in grace (unearned favor) to the one who places his or her faith in Jesus Christ as Savior (Ephesians 2:8).
I challenge you right now to take your Bible, look up and read all the references that I have listed in this post, and let the truth of them wash over you. When you do you’ll see that the whole idea of someone earning their way into heaven by way of “good works” is patently absurd. Salvation is a gift, and like any gift it must be accepted to be owned. Since this gift is all wrapped up in a person, Jesus Christ, the only way to accept it is to accept Him. Call it putting your faith in Jesus. Call it believing in Him. Call it opening the door of your heart to Him. Call it receiving Him. These terminologies are all just different ways of describing the acceptance of the gift. But whatever you do, ACCEPT THE GIFT!!! If you don’t, you might as well be trying to jump and touch the moon.