One of my co-workers, Katrina, made a surprising comment a few days ago, on Monday 28th January. Katrina is a kind-hearted woman about 50-years-old who is also a pastor and caterer and party planner. And she has custody of two or three of her grandchildren. This woman is amazing, and I admire her greatly.
I can’t remember how this topic of conversation was brought up, but here’s the gist of it:
“My husband told me he wasn’t coming to my funeral,” Katrina said.
“Why not?” I asked.
I can’t remember her response. I mentioned that I wanted to be cremated after I die.
“I don’t want to take the chance of being burned twice,” Katrina responded.
I asked her what she meant by that, and she insinuated that she didn’t know whether she was going to Heaven or Hell after she died and that she was trying to earn entry into Heaven with her good works.
I confidently told her that I was going to Heaven.
“How do you know that?” she asked me.
“I accepted Christ into my heart as my Savior… and I try to live the Christian lifestyle,” I replied. I can’t remember the conversation after that, but I was disappointed in myself because I was not prepared to give her a sufficient response. It caught me off guard – I’ve never known a Christian to be uncertain of their fate. It absolutely breaks my heart.
“By grace we have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). No amount of good works can save us. It’s a gift freely given and paid for with the bloody sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Once we make that decision to believe and accept Him as our Lord and Savior, nothing can separate us. Our names are lovingly written in the Book of Life and there they stay for eternity.
If we have to earn our way into Heaven with good works, then what’s the point of the cross? Jesus lived the sinless life for us, taught and modeled how we are supposed to live, and took upon our fate. That’s why He came. It’s prideful to think that we can earn entry into Heaven with our works.
Of course, “faith without works is dead” (James 2:17). However, if you truly have received Jesus as Savior, then that perseverance to honor the Lord with your works and your life will be ingrained into your being through the Holy Spirit, no matter how many times you fail – and you will fail; you’re only human.
What you do with that failure and sin matters. Repentance matters. God sees through you into the depths of your heart. But, He loves you, anyway. So, you can be confident that you’re still going to meet Him face to face and live with Him forever in His kingdom of Heaven.
Nothing but the blood of Jesus. We can stop trying to earn our way into Heaven or earn His grace with our works. It’s impossible. So, yes, let’s honor the Lord with our choices and our works out of our love for Him (not fear), but let’s also rest in the knowledge of our fate paid for with the precious blood of Jesus Christ.