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How Good Is Good Enough?


"I reckon that if anyone ever deserved to get to heaven, she (or he) did."    As a Pastor, I have heard that sentiment expressed at funerals more times than I can remember. It is probably the most significant tribute that one person can pay another. It is a simple and succinct way of summing up the life of what we would call a good person.  


"Deserving to get to heaven". Now that's an interesting concept. I wonder how many people reading this column secretly harbour the hope that they are good enough to get to heaven?   Of course if someone asked us if we thought we were good enough we would probably downplay our own merit lest we be thought of as boastful. Probably the closest we would get to confessing our secret hope would be to say that we hoped we were in with a chance!  


For me, the idea of being good enough evokes an image of a set of scales. On one side, all the good things I have said and done are placed there. Meanwhile, on the other side, all the bad things I have said and done are placed.   As the image goes, if the good outweighs the bad then I'm good enough to get to heaven. Right? Of course, if the scales fall the other way; well, let's not talk about that scenario!


How good is good enough? The truth is that there has ever only been one person in the history of the world who was good enough to deserve heaven. That person is not Mother Theresa. Nor is it Billy Graham. Nor any of the saints of history. Only one person. Jesus Christ.   If that's true, then where does it leave us in this "good enough" drama? Probably up the creek without a paddle and, most likely, without a canoe, I suspect.  


Since none of us deserve to get to heaven, is there any hope? Yes! It's the same hope that Mother Theresa had. The same hope Billy Graham has. The mercy and grace of God received by an act of faith.   We can get to heaven not because we are good enough but because Jesus Christ is good enough and He died in our place.   It's time to stop trying and start trusting.

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