DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: A couple in my apartment complex says they know they’re going to go to heaven when they die. How can they say that? They seem like good people, but I think it’s arrogant for anyone to claim they’re good enough to get into heaven. — P.M.
DEAR P.M.: Many people, I’m afraid, hope that God will let them into heaven, since they’ve been honest and good and kind toward others. After all, they think, isn’t this what God expects of us?
But you may be surprised to learn that the Bible tells us otherwise. The Bible says God’s standard is nothing less than perfection — and who can claim to be perfect? In other words, if you had committed only one sin, just one, it would be enough to keep you out of heaven. God is absolutely pure and holy, and we’ll never be able to stand in his presence on our own. The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
This is why we need Christ, for only he can forgive us and cleanse us and he will, as we turn in faith to him. And this, I suspect, is what your neighbors have discovered. They know they aren’t good enough to go to heaven on their own, and they have turned to Christ for the forgiveness and mercy they need.
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And this can be true of you. God loves you, and he offers you the gift of eternal life right now — a gift paid for by his son, Jesus Christ. Why not reach out and accept that gift today, by inviting Christ to come into your life? The Bible’s promise is true: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
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