“Heaven? You can’t get there from here.”
Have you ever been lost and had to stop and ask for directions and had the person giving you a new route say “you can’t get there from here…”?
From our human standpoint, we cannot get to heaven. The road is blocked in every direction.
1. You do not get to heaven by avoiding bad behavior
2. You do not get to heaven by choosing good behavior
3. You get to heaven by paying for your sins.
Wait, if number 2 is true, how do I pay for my sins?
I cannot pay for my sins. The Bible says that Even my best good deeds are like filthy rags in Gods sight.
I have a problem. What am I going to do to get into heaven? I have done some stuff. Bad stuff. How do I pay for my bad stuff? How do I pay for my sins? Maybe I should have said in number 3, “you get to heaven by having your sins paid for” or “in order to get to heaven, you must have your sins paid for.” It’s like our sins are a debt that must be paid, One version of the Lord’s Prayer says, “forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors”. Debts can be paid paid by benefactors. Early in our marriage someone paid off a washing machine for us. If someone has wealth, an abundance, they can pay off the debts of others. Where sin is considered as debt, we have a problem. We are all in the same debtors prison. The Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. There is no other person who has an abundance of, of, hmmm. What kind of abundance would it take to pay for sin? Goodness? The Bible verse I just referred to goes on to say that none is righteous, no, not one. Righteousness, is that what we need to pay for sin? No human has any for themselves , let alone enough to share with another human. There is that one guy, he was fully human, and yet he was also fully God. His name is Jesus. I used the present tense in the verb because although he was born 2 millennia ago he is still alive. He did die. He died once and was dead for 3 days but he rose from the dead and is alive.
God the Father sent his son Jesus to live as one of us, do it perfectly, be completely God and completely man and then die the death we deserve to pay off all of our debts, yours and mine.
The apostle Paul wrote about this in his letter to the Roman believers.
“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.”
Romans 5:6-11 – NLT
So there it is. Jesus meets us at #3 and pays our debts for us. And even though it cost God the Father, the life of his only son, by accepting the gift Jesus offers, we are not only sin debt free, we are invited into God the Father’s family and given God the Holy Spirit to live in us, to guide us and help us.
To complete the traveling analogy where we’ve been told that we can’t get to heaven from here, we need to turn around, another word for that is to repent. Ask God to forgive our debt and the cross that Jesus died on becomes the bridge into heaven, into God’s family.
We cannot get to heaven from here- on our own. We have to ask Jesus to help.
If we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised him from the dead, we will be saved, we have our ticket to heaven and the Bible is our guide on how to live, like our spiritual AAA instructions on safety and maintenance as we travel.