17 Sections

A Walk of the Wild Side

Chapter: 10.02
(Section 10: Understanding Salvation)
Copyright Michael Bronson 1997, 1999, and 2000

Will a person go to Heaven if he is a better person compared to most other people? Is admittance into Heaven based on comparing our lives to the lives of others or against God's standard?

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The State Trooper walked into the room and approached a young man sitting on a bench. "Joel Bryan," the Trooper asked. Looking up, Joel acknowledged his identity. The Trooper said, "Stand up, I’m placing you under arrest." In one quick motion, Joel was pulled up and handcuffed. Stunned as to what just happened, Joel was hauled off to jail.

Joel worked for a fire inspection company and was contracted to inspect the fire systems in a prison. A routine LEIN check was done on him to see if there were any "wants or warrants" for him. Unfortunately, Joel had some outstanding tickets and since he skipped a court appearance, a statewide bench warrant was issued against him.

Joel knew he had some outstanding tickets and knew he had missed his court appearance. When he was filling out the clearance form (to enter the prison), he was told if he had any outstanding warrants, the police would come over to arrest him. He figured, however, that his traffic violations were not real crimes so they wouldn’t cause him any problems. His rationale went something like this, "Compared to the other offenders, my offenses are quite mild. Since my infractions are so insignificant, they will probably fall through the cracks. Even if they don’t, the consequences shouldn’t be severe."

Obviously, he misjudged the situation. Unfortunately, many people make the same type of miscalculation when it comes to salvation. They assume that when their sins are compared to the sins of others, their sins will pale in comparison. Therefore, God will probably ignore or gloss over their sins. I’m sorry to say that there will be many surprised people, who will find out God views all sins seriously. Unfortunately, they will probably find out too late.

Most people realize they have sinned, but do not consider themselves a "bad" person. They consider themselves a "good" person in comparison to most other people. They assume that since they are a good person God will allow them into Heaven. This is how the logic goes: Since everyone has sinned, a sinful person can still make it to Heaven. Hell, of course, must be for the really bad people. So, the dividing point of making it to Heaven must be somewhere between being a real good person and a real bad person. Therefore, since I am probably better than 80% of those around me, I must be one of the people going to Heaven."

The only problem with this logic is the Bible says that one sin is enough to keep a person from going to Heaven. Everyone who has sinned must go to Hell. All sins are serious and have serious consequences. It does not matter if you told a lie or murdered someone. It doesn’t matter if you’ve committed one sin or committed a million. God’s judgment of us will not be based on how we compare to other people, rather, it will be based on how we compare to His standard. I have given the following illustration elsewhere in this book, but it’s worth repeating.

A six-foot tall man is much taller than a four-foot tall man. The difference is quite obvious. Yet, when you compare these two men next to a 60’ foot light post, the men look quite similar in height. Likewise, when you compare a "good" person next to Hitler, we can see a major difference. However, when you compare them against God’s high standard, the difference between Hitler and the "good" person shrinks tremendously. Therefore, if you have committed one sin, you are destined to Hell. The only way a person can enter Heaven is by receiving the atonement offered by Jesus.



Other Chapters in this Section

A Case for Christianity
"Got Milk?" -An interesting way of presenting the gospel
A Walk on the Wild Side
Delusions of Grandeur
Good Intentions
Making up for Past Wrongs
Misguided Commitment
Grace:  Unmerited Favor (an emotional example)
Is Jesus God?
Reference 1:  Verses Showing the Trinity
Reference 2:  Verses Showing Jesus is God
If Jesus is God, Why did He have so many Limitations?
Is Hell for Eternity?

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