Saturday, July 20, 2013

Do Good People Go to Heaven?

Do good people go to heaven?

This is not a "quick answer" question. When we are asked this question the very first order of business is to define the word or term "good". Immediately we have a number of real problems that must be solved, or else we will find ourselves not taking the question seriously. Many educated people, when discussing philosophy, religion, politics, or a television show avoid a basic step in reading for understanding. We read words, sentences, paragraphs, and pages, yet we do not take the time to pause, and to understand the term or terms. You've heard the phrase "We've come to terms", that is, we've come to an agreement, a common understanding. This is the first step toward understanding any question, and then finding an answer.
Let's get back to the question at hand. Have you noticed that in raising this question I am assuming certain things. I am giving birth to other questions. "Is there a heaven?" "Are there good people?" "Is there a standard by which we must be measured in order to enter heaven?" For the question at hand I am assuming that my reader believes that there are good people, and a place called Heaven.
Do good people go to heaven? In defining the word "good" we find ourselves swimming in a sea of definitions, or scanning for other words trying to describe "good". Satisfactory, adequate, favorable, sufficient, and so on. Since this is not really meant to be a lesson in reading or comprehension, there is another more accurate answer to defining the word good, and answering the question at hand. Let the One who is the Judge and Determiner of all that is indeed good, Who alone will decide those who gain occupancy into Heaven tell us His terms. God has stated that "There is none who are righteous, no not one." Not one good? Not one righteous? The psalmist writes "Lord,if you mark our iniquity who could stand?" The obvious answer here is that no one could stand. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Contrary to popular opinion, in God's eyes there are no "good" people, at least none good enough to get to heaven. Not one human, or missionary, or martyr, not one. Not mom or dad, sister or brother, son or daughter, not you or I! Now immediately the hairs are raised and the eyebrow is furled, and you are taking up a line of defense. You have already started to argue with this Divine Position, haven't you? "No good people"? You see, we were created to glorify God, to magnify His name, to shine forth His great reputation and fame, not our own. The moment one claims His own goodness, he stands condemned. He is not humble, but arrogant, not ashamed, but crass. Heaven is for the humble, the contrite in spirit, those who see themselves as they really are in the sight of God's pure light that reveals all of our secrets, thoughts, actions, and even motives of the heart. Imagine for a moment that God put into video "all" of our secret thoughts and motives? We would run and hide, as did Adam in the garden. Our motives do not look so innocent as they are seen by God's Holy eye, His Holy standard. One last thought to ponder... Good must not be defined as "normal", for the norm is derived at by looking at the whole population, and determining what most people do is okay, acceptable. So then, we go to a far off land where cannibalism is the norm. Are they then "good"? Maybe in man's eyes it is okay, but not in God's eyes. God has indeed set a standard, and His name is Jesus Christ. None measure up to His standard, His example. And that is the main purpose of God's word. He wants to show us our need for repentance, and make known to us His merciful forgiveness through the death of Jesus Christ, and sure hope of heaven as God joyfully receives all into His presence who are forgiven in Christ. Well, to keep this brief, there is great news! Jesus said "Repent, and believe the good news". God has provided One Who could save us from our corrupted heart and state.

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