Most people consider themselves to be a good person and that by being a good person they’ll go to heaven. But here’s a simple question: If good people go to heaven, for what reason did Jesus die on the cross? If salvation and eternal life require only that a person be good, it means Jesus died for no reason.
But what if I told you you’re not a good person? What if I told you no one is a good person and only bad people go to heaven? Continue reading →
Do good people go to heaven? The answer is no. Surprisingly, however, this is good news. It’s fortunate for us that getting into heaven is not about being a good person because all of us have, at one time or another, done things we’re not proud of. We’ve stolen, lied, cheated, hurt people, talked behind people’s backs, hated them unjustly, been filled with jealousy, etc, etc, on and on…
If getting into heaven were about being a good person, none of us would make it. Fortunately, however, God has set the standard for getting into heaven, and it’s not about what we do but about what He did.
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,
in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this
world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit
who is now at work in those who are disobedient.
All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the
cravings of our sinful nature and following its
desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in
mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in
transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in
the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,
in order that in the coming ages he might show the
incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to
us in Christ Jesus.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and
this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God —
not by works, so that no-one can boast.
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do
good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:1-10)
(photo credit: flickr Creative Commons, Beautiful Face by Jason Staten)
How to stop sinning; it’s not by your own strength.
You want to do what’s right but yet it seems like you often end up doing what you know is wrong. So, how do you stop sinning?
If we were able to stop sinning through the strength of our own will power, there would have been no need for Jesus to die on the cross because there would, after all, be plenty of sinless people in the world.
Jesus died for us on the cross because we are not capable of being sinless.
How to stop sinning
The answer is not that you make yourself stop sinning. The answer is that you allow Jesus will stop your sinning.
When you draw near to Jesus in a relationship with Him, your sin begins to fade. Think of a weed. When it doesn’t get any water it begins to wither. In a similar way, when you are filled with the Holy Spirit and continue to draw near to Christ, your sin begins to wither. The moment you start getting lazy, and begin to drift away from Christ your sin, begins to flourish and thrive again.
Consider this a blessing. You have, within you, a type of spiritual Geiger counter. A Geiger counter is used to measure dangerous radioactivity. The Geiger counter makes a ticking noise. The closer it gets to something radioactive the faster the ticking noise becomes. It allows the person holding the machine to know when there’s danger.
In a similar way, if you find that you can’t stop sinning, your spiritual Geiger counter is telling you that you’re not close enough to Jesus. If you stop sinning for a short period of time then suddenly that same old sin starts springing up in your life again, it’s a sign that you’re drifting away from the Lord.
It’s the power of the Holy Spirit that causes us to stop sinning. Not through our strength but His strength. We have to rely upon Jesus.
I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing.
Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. (Romans 7:18-8:4)
The number of times that forgiveness is mentioned in the bible is an interesting topic and has an exact answer if you’re strictly looking only for the word “forgiveness”. However, the concept of forgiveness is mentioned many more times than the word itself. Let’s take a quick look.
First of all, it depends on which translation you are reading. Some versions of the bible use different words that mean the same thing. For example Hebrews 9:22 in the New International Version uses the word forgiveness, but the same verse in the King James version uses the word remission.
But for the sake of answering the question, “How many times is forgiveness mentioned in the bible”, I’ve used the New International Version to give the following stats. Continue reading →
“Jesus please forgive me for the time that I …….” That simple sentence is how to ask God for forgiveness and it’s all that’s needed. Remember, however, that God judges the heart and knows our intentions, even before we do. Receiving forgiveness doesn’t come from reciting special words like some sort of magic spell. Forgiveness is given to those who, in their heart, desire to be forgiven.
Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. (Isaiah 55:6-7)
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:8-12)
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. (Ephesians 1:7-10)
Jesus is your friend. When you pray to him, talk to him the same way you’d talk to your friend. And don’t forget to also take some time to stop and listen.
(photo credit: flickr creative commons, Rainbow by David Martyn Hunt)