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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


Daily Boost

Dec. 8, 2010 - Do Only Perfect People Go to Heaven?

By Jerry Scott

Although we may not want to believe it, the answer to the question in the title is “Yes.” Our Holy God will not tolerate sin, and He will not let heaven be tainted with anything short of His perfection.

I don’t know anybody who is perfect. Do you? There are certainly those who work hard to create the impression of being perfect, but no one ever achieves the standard. When we are honest, we are sadly aware of our sins and failures. David mourned his sinfulness saying: “I know how bad I’ve been; my sins are staring me down. ... I’ve been out of step with you for a long time, in the wrong since before I was born” (Psalm 51:3,5, The Message). Scripture’s inescapable indictment is brief and clear: “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23, NLT).

So, is heaven a place we dream of, but where only God and the angels dwell? Can we, should we, hope for a home with the Lord, or is that beyond our reach?

Only those who are perfect will live with God, but reaching that blessed state is not the result of our effort! “God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ” (Romans 3:24, The Message).

In the opening of the letter to the Ephesians, Paul writes of the amazingly stupendous love of God for you and me. Then in chapter 2, he seems to abruptly change tone. “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins. … All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath” (Ephesians 2:1,3, NIV).

Then, he writes, “But, God ... .” This is the Divine Exception, the Immanuel Intervention, that makes our hope of a home in heaven (and a life in His presence right here, right now) possible! “But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. … God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:4,5,8-10, NLT).

Take this thought as your statement of purpose: “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14, NIV).

— Jerry D. Scott is senior pastor at Washington (N.J.) Assembly of God.



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