Part 2 of 2: Really? “Bad guys” can go to heaven?
Who does—and who does not—get to heaven is a tender subject, or should be. Who is heading for heaven or hell should be approached with gentle love because the “Who is in—and who is not in?” conversation can certainly be divisive.
Regardless of where you are on the theological spectrum, let’s not divide but encourage each other. How? Follow this really awesome role model by quietly listening to others first, and then loving them as love is modeled by Christ to us in the gospels.
Christians, our job is not judge who is and who is not heaven bound. Now this does not “get us off the hook.” We are accountable to what we know because one, scripture does make it clear that there will be a judgment day, and two, we are called to share the Good News of Jesus’ redeeming message. Yet in this blog, the second of two parts because the subject matter can be heavy for some, here’s a reminder: God is God, we are not.
And what IS God doing? God, through His Son, is in the business of saving people. This saving thing comes out of His love for us.
“What love?” some skeptics wonder.
Without a scriptural background, many can picture God as a soft teacher who extends the deadline or passes us with a C- when, in honesty, we failed the class. The thinking is that God, with His innate “goodness,” will just let us into heaven.
God doesn’t just “let us in”; there’s more to it than that. God wants us to love Him and know Him. And speaking of “us”—as in all of us—we who love all get this: we can only truly, deeply, totally love someone we know.
Getting back to being heaven bound, there is no way any of us can be “good enough” to get to heaven. The Apostle Paul, who authored 1 Corinthians and explains love poignantly, speaks honestly when he says in Romans 3:23, “We all fall short of the glory of God.” Every one of us. Yes. Everyone.
Jesus knew this. In John 8:1-11, he encounters a woman who clearly is not Mother Teresa. When this woman is brought forward, the local do-gooders want justice served, which, under the then operational law of Moses, meant this sinful soul was to be stoned to death.
Jesus asked then what we need to know now: are any of us without sin?
Are there “bad guys” out there? Yes. Are there “good guys” out there? Yes. Good or bad is not the gauge used anymore because the law of Moses does not exist anymore. Jesus took care of that.
Said differently, we don’t get to heaven on our own merit. We make it to heaven with God’s grace.
How do we get God’s grace? We ask for it. All of us. As in each and everyone of us.