good do you have to be to get into heaven?
You've said: Only really bad people go to hell. Everyone
else goes to heaven, as long as we've tried to be good.
You could say this is true.
So how does God determine who is really bad?
How does He make the comparison of who is good vs. who is bad vs.
who is really bad?
Will he compare you with your neighbors, for
No. They have to be judged also. And some
of your neighbors may be better or worse than others. What God needs
is an standard. Something He can use that is fair, and that applies
in the same way to everyone. Then He can measure each person against
that standard and know whether they are good, bad or really bad.
At one end of the scale is good. What is the
standard for good? God Himself. God is god and perfect. In fact,
He is the definition of perfect goodness.
How does God then determine what is bad? Anything
that is not a part of God's character or nature is bad. In the Bible
God tells us what these are. For example, the Ten Commandments are
a starting point in listing what is bad (or evil).
1) Worshipping Other Gods (such as money,
power, beauty, etc.)
2) Do Not Make Idols (fancy homes, cars, multimedia centers, etc.)
3) Misusing the Name of the LORD
4) Honor Your Father and Mother
5) Keep The Sabbath Holy
10) Coveting What Others Have
In general, doing something that God has told
us not to do is bad.
So now, how do we know the difference between
someone who has made some mistake, but is really trying to be good,
and someone who is really bad?
Here's an important point: There is
God is so perfectly pure and good that any
sin, even the smallest one, is the same to Him as what we would
consider the worst sin. If we break even the least of God's laws,
it's the same as breaking them all. And we all break God's laws,
even if we've tried hard not to.
all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
- Romans 3:23 (NIV)
Compared to God we are all really bad. Even
when we are righteous in our actions:
"All our righteous
deeds are like a filthy garment." - Isaiah 64:6 (NASB)
"For whoever keeps
the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty
of all." - James 2:10 (NASB)
You see, the problem is that sin, not even
the smallest sin, can exist in God's presence. That means the only
way we can enter heaven is if we are totally free of all sin. We
have to be perfect!
Not for God. Through His Son we are made pure
and clean so we may join Him in heaven for eternity. Jesus has taken
our sins onto Himself so we may enter God's presence free of sin.
All we need to do is repent,
and trust that He will take care of them for us.
Who is Jesus that He can do this for us?
Our Savior; our Lord; and God.