Weekly Newsletter

Pastor David’s Weekly Devotional
      I remember, years ago, going door-to-door canvassing the neighborhood around our church inviting people to church.  We would simply ask them two questions: 1) If you died tonight do you think you would go to heaven?, and 2) If God were to ask you, ‘Why should I let you into heaven?’ what would you say?  Interestingly enough, almost everybody we talked with thought they were going to heaven.  Perhaps more interesting were the reasons they gave as to why they thought they were going to heaven.  Their answers ranged from being “a good person” to not being “a bad person.”  Most notably was one particular lady who shocked me when she said, “I would tell God that I should go to heaven because in my life I have taken care of many stray dogs.”

Cultural Myth ~ All good people deserve to go to heaven.
      It seemed that everyone we talked to believed they were good enough to go to heaven, and not bad enough to deserve hell – no matter how bad they were.  In reality, they had arbitrarily established their own standard of goodness (which just so happened to be generous enough to include them).  But Scripture is clear that we do not set the standard for God has already done so.  There is an absolute, non-negotiable, and objective standard of righteousness that God demands for those who go to heaven.  Are you ready for this?  The standard is nothing less than absolute sinlessness and righteousness! (see Matt.5:48).  God’s lowest standard is the same as His highest standard.  God only has one standard: nothing less than blameless perfection.

Gospel Truth ~ No one deserves to go to heaven.
      The truth is, no matter how many good things a person does, or how many bad things a person avoids, no one can ever be good enough to go to heaven on their own – no one!  No one deserves heaven – it is the undeserved and unearned gift of God for those who are in Christ.  The thief on the cross is a perfect picture of our lives apart from Christ.  He knew he lived a sinful life.  He knew he was guilty and deserving of God’s just wrath.  From the excruciating vantage point of his own crucifixion, he fully recognized his desperate need for a Savior.  In a sacred moment of understanding he sees Jesus for who He really is.  Upon realizing his helpless and hopeless condition before God, the thief humbly asked Jesus to mercifully give him something that he knew he did not deserve: Grace!  “Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom’” (Lk.23:42).

      Heaven is not for those who do not deserve hell.  It is a grave error to believe that everyone is going to heaven until they do something “bad enough” deserving of eternal punishment in hell.  The Gospel truth is that everyone is a sinner and condemned under the wrath of God, unless they receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior (see Jn.3:18, 36).  Salvation is not ours to lose (through our unrighteousness), but only ours to gain (through Christ’s righteousness).  Eternal life with God in heaven is the free gift from God to those who have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ – not through any human effort or works or goodness.  Jesus Christ alone is perfect, and He alone is the perfect sacrifice and substitute for sinners (see 2Cor.5:21).  The righteousness that God demands and requires comes only through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and is obtained only by believing in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Together in and for Christ,
Pastor David

Scripture Readings for the Week (Monday – Sunday ~ Week #34):
Numbers 5-8; 1 Chronicles 10-14; Psalms 99-101; Proverbs 19; Hosea 1-7; John 7-9; 1 Timothy 4-6
Recommended Reading:
“The Gospel Call and True Conversion” by Paul Washer

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