I am picturing Christmas with my family! I can already smell the home cooked food coming from the kitchen, and I can practically hear the kids playing pool in the basement. The holiday hustle, suitcases, Mom's pumpkin pies and finally the gifts. I can see us already. The family has grown from six to eighteen. Lots of gifts will be given with love! I can see myself right now. Me with my checkbook. Making little donations--paybacks to all those family members who graced me with Christmas "gifts."
Now that sounds ridiculous, doesn't it. Don't worry. I am not really planning on writing checks to pay everyone back for my Christmas presents!! I guess if I did, it wouldn't be a free gift huh?
That is exactly what some people try to do to God. "Thanks God for the free gift of heaven. Thanks for dying on the cross, but it just wasn't quite enough. Somehow your blood isn't strong enough, perfect enough or sufficient enough to get me all the way to heaven, so I am just going to pay you back in little installments of being really good so that I can earn a little bit of heaven or at least hold on to it."
We can't be good enough to get to heaven. That is why Jesus paid our way when He died on the cross. You have to be perfect you know, and Jesus is the only One who is perfect. Trusting Him to get us there is the only way!!
I have heard people say that they trust Christ to get them to heaven, but if they did something really bad, they would go to hell. No way. It's either a free gift or it's not. It does not depend on what we do.
You could never be good enough to get to heaven, and you could never be bad enough to get kicked out once God has saved you! His blood is that strong!
So if we can't tell people to be good to get to heaven, how do we get people to be good? God is strong enough and able enough to do that. That is why He lives in our hearts and draws people to Himself. We live for God because we love Him. We do what is right because we want rewards that come with obedience. We please Him because we want His best for our lives and we don't want to miss out on all that He has in store for us. But we don't live for him because we fear hell, for we are held closely in the arms of the God who is mighty and able to save us and to keep us saved! Put away your checkbook. No need to write payback checks of good works. You are safe my friend! Now live for Him because you love Him.