To enter heaven, a person must be perfect.
“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”Matthew 5:48
So, how is perfection achieved?
Picture perfection as a heart filled with plus signs. Now picture another heart with minus signs representing sin. The longer a person lives, the more minus signs are added.
How does the heart containing minus signs become one filled with plus signs? It’s a simple question but a vitally important one.
Many people immediately think of Jesus’ atonement. That’s good. Scripture says:
“the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”1 John 1:7
Jesus’ blood erases away our sins.
So, this leaves an empty heart. No minus signs. But also, no plus signs. Where do the plus signs come from?
This is where many people get tripped up. Most think of the good works they do. The more they do, the more plus signs are added.
That, however, is not what Scripture says. It says eternal life is God’s gift to us. It is nothing we earn, achieve, or even contribute to.
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”Romans 6:23
It’s important to see that God gives it “through Jesus Christ our Lord”. He can do that because Jesus didn’t just die for us, he also lived for us. His entire life he kept all the commandments perfectly—not for himself, but for us.
The plus signs in the heart are the perfect things Jesus did—things credited to our account through faith in him.
This is startling news. Not only is it totally unexpected; it can easily rub us the wrong way. We feel we must contribute something—that we have earned something with all the good we have done. Like I said, this is not the easiest thing to accept.
That’s why we will take a closer look at it all this week. Tomorrow we will look at one of Jesus’ names which emphasizes this wonderful truth.
How can we pray for you this week?
What does forgiveness really mean for your life?
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Additional Questions You Might Have
How do you know if you’ve been forgiven by God?
When does God forgive? How do we know if we’ve really been forgiven?