Why the Cross?
If you’re like most Americans, you believe that most people are going to heaven and the way we are getting there is by being good people. But what is good? What you might think is good, I might think is wrong. Even if we knew what “good” was, we don’t know how good is good enough. Do I have to do one good thing for every bad thing? Or is it ten good things for every bad thing? Or is it 100? What if you miss by one good thing? Who knows the answer?
And in the end, when you’re lying on your deathbed and I ask you, “Are you going to Heaven?” is the best you can say, “I hope so”? If so, that’s one big hope, because if you’re wrong, you are gambling with your eternal soul!
Luckily for you, you can know if you are going to heaven. On the page on Salvation, it is explained that Jesus died so you can get to Heaven. But what does that mean?
You see, in the beginning, God created us to be with Him forever. But we have sinned and that sin has caused us to be separated from God – forever. Fortunately, God wasn’t happy with that, so He found a way to bring us back to Him. He allowed us to make atonement for our sin – that means that God allowed a substitute for payment of our sin so that we would not be found guilty for it. He told us how in Leviticus 17:11: By the shedding of blood, we can atone for our sin. We can sacrifice an animal to take our place. Instead of our death, God accepts the death of the animal. It’s an ugly picture, killing something so we can be forgiven, but our sin is much uglier than that to God.
Unfortunately, even with this, we weren’t able to stay good. People had to keep doing sacrifice after sacrifice. So God decided that He would have to take care of this one time, forever. John 3:16 tells us how He did it – by giving His Son as the final sacrifice for us.
“That doesn’t seem right!” Well, let’s say that a known murderer was standing before a judge on the day of his sentencing. The judge asks him if he has anything to say and the murderer says, “Judge, I know you are a loving man. I’m really sorry for what I did. I know since you are so loving, you will let me go.” Would that judge be any good if he let the known murderer go? Of course not! We would have the judge put on trial if he did that! So why do we think God should be any less righteous and just?
“But I’m not a sinner”, you say. Let’s see how good you are compared to only the Ten Commandments (we’ll forget about all the other things God commanded for now). Have you ever told a lie (even a little one)? That makes you a liar. Have you ever stolen something (a pen or test answers or on your taxes)? That makes you a thief. Have you ever committed adultery (Jesus said, if you look at another with lust, you have committed adultery)? Have you ever murdered (Jesus said if you are angry with your brother, you are as guilty as if you have committed murder)? That’s just four of the Ten Commandments. If God judged you based on the Ten Commandments, would you be innocent or guilty? Would you be going to Heaven?
But God gave His son as a sacrifice to atone for (to cleanse us of) our sins. It is like a Christmas present – we can take it or we can leave it under the tree. If we don’t accept Jesus as our sacrifice for our sin, then we have rejected God’s free gift to us and there is no way to be sure we are going to get to Heaven.
Can you answer, without any doubt, the question, “Are you going to heaven when you die”? If not, then you need to recognize that, although you may not be able to work your way into Heaven by your good deeds, Jesus can take you to where He is right now. Trust Him to bring you to Heaven. Receive Him into your life. Read the Bible to understand who He is and what He has done for you and Believe in Him. Come to The Ark Church so you can continue your growth in faith and relationship with God.