Do You Deserve to Go to Heaven
“Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” Luke 18:10-14
“You know, Jesus is going to look at lots of people one day who think they’re going to heaven and turn them away,” I said one day to my 80-something friend who by God’s grace had repented and returned grateful beyond measure to God after straying away. “He says it in God’s Word.”
“Yeah, there’s a whole lot of people who think they’re entitled to go to heaven. It’s the whole entitlement thing. People feeling like they’re entitled to things,” he pretty much responded.
Oh, how my heart grieves over this. My friend is entirely right. The American culture, and perhaps others as well, thrives off people feeling like they’re entitled to, and deserve, anything and everything they want. Like they deserve whatever they can get their hands on. They think they can buy and earn stuff. Or just deserve it because they think they’re good enough to get what they want. Like heaven.
Look at the Pharisee and publican. Which one received God’s mercy? Not the prideful, perfectionist Pharisee who trusted in his own “righteousness”, thinking He could earn God’s mercy with his “good works.” The publican received God’s mercy because he recognized he was a sinner, knowing he deserved nothing from God, and humbled himself before Him, crying out to God for the mercy he knew he needed. He KNEW he wasn’t entitled to anything from God. God honored his humility and gave him mercy.
Jesus Christ went to the cross to bear God’s wrath at us for our sins and the death and hell penalty we deserve on Himself so those of us who recognize we are sinners, know we deserve nothing from God, humble ourselves before Him, cry out to Him for mercy, and repent and place our trust in Christ and what He did on the cross for us, turning from our wicked ways to devote ourselves to God and His ways from henceforth, we receive what we don’t deserve. God’s love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and eternal life with God in heaven for those who are genuine in our repentance, faith, and whose lives bear witness we now belong to Christ.
Is this message for you? Or someone you know who needs to hear it?