Have you worried that you might not “make it” into heaven, or that you are
not worthy of the kingdom of God?
Many Christians do. Especially at Christmastime, when there seems to be joy
and good cheer everywhere except in their worried hearts. They know their sins
and failings, and they can’t imagine that God would want someone like them
messing things up in heaven.
But the gospel is good news, and the good news is that you don’t have to
worry about your salvation. “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,” the apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8-9.
Salvation doesn’t come by our righteousness. It comes from God, by grace,
apart from anything we do. “Christ died for us while we were still sinners,”
Romans 5:10 tells us.
If you know you are unworthy, that’s good, because you are. None of us is
worthy of the kingdom of God. That’s why the Son of God came – to save sinners,
not to save righteous people. There aren’t any righteous people.
Paul says it this way in Roman 3: 21-24:
“But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known,
to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes
through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for
all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by
his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”
We can’t attain salvation by anything we do, nor can we lose salvation by
anything we do. Salvation is a gift of God, given because God loves us. It is
not payment for good behavior. It is adoption into our Father’s family as
brothers and sisters of Jesus. It is being restored into right a right
relationship with God and with one another.
Colossians 3:1-4 says,
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things
above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on
things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden
with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will
appear with him in glory.”
We can stop striving to “make it” and we can stop worrying. Jesus has
already done everything necessary for our salvation. He wants us to believe it
and start walking with him. We won’t be sinless this side of heaven. But no
matter how many times we fall down, no matter how many times we fail, we can
always trust him to pick us up and help us move on. He is our righteousness and
our life, and in him, we find our joy and good cheer.
I’m Joseph Tkach, speaking of LIFE.