1 Corinthians 6:9-11 “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God“
We are told in these verses that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God. In other words, if we are not deemed righteous before God we will not enter heaven’s gates but justly be condemned for eternity.
That is a VERY scary thought!
It was actually that thought that prompted me some 13 years ago to find out if I was ‘good’ enough to enter through heaven’s gates. Growing up I thought I was a pretty good person… in comparison to others. But what about in comparison to God… how good am I compared to His standards – the standards He requires for us to enter into His presence?
What God has graciously taught me since that day is awesome and oh so humbling!
We Can’t Earn Our Way
Ok, but it’s a bit much to say that no one is righteous, as there are so many ‘good’ people in the world. Well compared to other people, there are many ‘godly’ looking people. However compared to our holy God our good deeds are but filthy rags or a polluted garment (Isaiah 64:6). The fact is no matter how good we are, we can’t earn our way into God’s good books because even our best deeds are tarnished with sin. Our holy and just God can’t accept that.
So how is one declared righteous or justified before God? We have no hope given what He demands is absolute perfection. Well, our hope doesn’t rest in our work, but the work of Jesus on our behalf. Rom 5:1 says “since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”. It’s through faith in the work that Jesus has done for us that we are justified before our holy God and declared righteous!
How Awesome is That!!
Our salvation through Christ is a work completely done by God. We just need to accept it through faith and in doing so are born again as a child of God (Gal 3:26), born again spiritually (John 3:1-15). Notice also that through faith we are saved and justified. Past tense. It means the deal is done! We are right with God. Given we are saved by grace alone, and it’s a work completely done by God, we can be assured in our salvation because it doesn’t rely on our ‘goodness’.
Now that should give us great hope, however it will naturally cause some to ask, “Hang on… I’ve seen lots of people profess to being a Christian and now don’t appear to be following Christ. Are they still saved? Can you lose your salvation? Because we chose to follow God, can’t we choose not to? If you are assured of salvation what’s stopping you doing what you want?”
These are provocative and very valid questions! I will respond with two observations… but in my next post.