Billy Graham: You don’t have to ‘earn’ God’s love

08/24/2014 7:00 AM

08/24/2014 7:04 PM

DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: Every day, I really try to please God by doing everything I think he’d want me to do, but how do I know if I’ve succeeded? I hope I’ll be good enough to get into heaven. — K.F.

DEAR K.F.: It’s not wrong to want to please God, of course; far too many people, I’m afraid, simply ignore him or don’t care what he thinks about them. The Bible urges us to “please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work” (Colossians 1:10).

But listen: It is wrong to want to please God for the wrong reason! Right now, you hope that you can somehow get God to like you, if you’ll only be good enough. In other words, you hope you can earn God’s love by being a good person. And that probably sounds logical to you, since that’s the way we often treat each other.

But God isn’t like this! No matter how good we are, we can never earn God’s love, because God’s standard is perfection. In other words, even one sin would be enough to keep you out of heaven. The Bible says, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (James 2:10).

Does this mean God will never love you, and you can never be saved? Absolutely not! You aren’t perfect, but Jesus was, and he came to forgive you and make you part of his family forever. He did this because God loves you and wants you to be with him in heaven forever.

Now God offers you salvation as a free gift — free, because Christ has already paid for it by his death on the cross for you. Receive this gift today by trusting Christ, not yourself, for your salvation.

Tribune Media Services 8/25

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