11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,
12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,
13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,
14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. Titus 2:11-14
People have different opinions about who goes to heaven. Some believe ethical behavior and moral character bring automatic acceptance from God. Others, while acknowledging they have bad habits and behaviors, claim a self-improvement plan gains them admission. Still others assume they’ll be disqualified from heaven because of deep hurts they caused.
None of this lines up with the truth of the Bible. Scripture tells us that character and deeds do not determine our eternal state (Eph. 2:8-9). Rather, the barrier between us and a holy God is our sinful nature. Romans 5:12 teaches that Adam and Eve’s sin caused all mankind to begin physical life dead to spiritual things and under a sentence of judgment. No amount of good works or moral behavior can change our unholy nature. Nor do bad choices make our nature worse.
Without direct help from the heavenly Father, we’d be a people without hope—we would find the entrance to heaven closed and face everlasting separation from God. But our loving Father had a plan to deal with our corrupt nature so we could live with Him for eternity. He sent His Son Jesus Christ as our willing substitute: Jesus took our sins on Himself and received the punishment we deserved. What we were helpless to do, He accomplished for us. Through faith in Him, we have assurance that we will live in the presence of God forever.
Knowing we’re heaven bound gives hope and meaning to our lives. Let’s tell others about Jesus, the source of our hope.
Bible in One Year: Genesis 12-15