Everyone, at one time or another, will think about death. When we are younger, it is usually a life experience such as an accident, the death of a loved one, or something of the like, that causes us to think of our mortality.
As we grow older, death is on our mind more frequently. Our parents pass away, and we attend more and more funerals of our friends.
Many seniors sit and wonder why they are still here. As they see their health deteriorate, their skills diminish, and grow lonely as they become less and less a part of the lives of the younger generations behind them. As people inch into the seventies, eighties, and nineties they understand the math and begin to wonder if “today may be the day.”
It is human nature to fear the unknown. Without faith, the questions of what happens after death will bring fear because the afterlife is a total unknown. Will I go to heaven? Will I go to hell? Will I still live here in the shadows as a ghost? Is there anything at all or is death the end of my existence?
Most people believe in some Supreme Being out there; a God. Because of this, most people think we will go someplace else once life on earth is over. This afterlife is usually believed to be spent either in a paradise or a place of punishment, a heaven or a hell.
Even though people may think heaven and hell (or things similar) are out there, without faith, the fear of death is still present because of the uncertainty dwelling in our spirit.
This fear leads me to the question – Why should you go to heaven?
Let’s explore the most popular answers to this question.
Answer #1 – “The good in my life outweighs the bad.” This response pictures judgment day as God having a giant scale. On one side of the scale, God places all the bad we have done and on the other end all the good we have done. As the scale swings in the balance, if the good side is heavier we make it to heaven, if the bad outweighs the good, off to hell we go.
Answer #2 – “I’m a good person.” Similar to answer number one, but it excludes the wrong. Almost always following “I’m a good person” is a list of good things the person has done.
Answer #3 will involve church or religion. Things like, “I’ve been baptized,” “I’m a member of such and such a church,” “I go to church all the time” and so forth.
Answer #4 “I haven’t done anything bad enough to go to hell.” These people tend to believe God has put a line out there and as long as you do not cross it, you’ll be excepted by God. “I haven’t killed or raped anybody; I’m not a child molester” is another way to word this response.
Will any of these answers satisfy God? No.
All of these responses are giving human goodness (or lack of evil) as why a person should be allowed entrance into heaven, but the Bible tells us our righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:4). The Bible also explains it is the blood of Jesus Christ that appeases the anger of God and through faith in His blood we are justified before God. It is the righteousness of Jesus, not ours; that grants us entrance through the pearly gates.
Romans 3:21-28, “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”
Why should you go to heaven? Because of your goodness or because of the righteousness and blood of Jesus Christ?