A very famous man passed away recently and his passing is a reminder for us how short life is. I read some wall posts on facebook saying he will surely go to heaven because he was a good man, a deeply religious man.

I do not know what the state of his soul was at the time he died, and I am not one to pass jugdment on anybody’s soul for that matter, especially not on this great man. That is between him and God, just as each one of us will have to face God when our own time comes. I did have the honor of meeting and talking with him way back when I was in freshman college. Back then, he showed himself to be a serious man, far from the quirky and wacky person most of us are all familiar with.

However, I do want to clarify what I believe to be an issue of great importance. The bible tells us that a person does not get to heaven because he is “good,” “religious” or he helped people. The Bible tells us that we “all have sinned[1]” and that “no one is righteous, no, not one.[2]” We are all sinners, and nothing we do will ever be enough to pay for our sins. There is only one penalty for sin — and that is death[3].

We were all headed for hell because we could never ever be as holy as our God — and yet, while we were sinners, God loved us[4]. That is why God sent His only Son Jesus to redeem us from our sins. Jesus paid the penalty for our sins. HE PAID IT IN FULL. He died on the cross so that we may be made worthy to stand before a holy God. For when we confess our sins and believe that Jesus is our Lord and Saviour[5], our sins which before was as red as scarlet are washed away and we are left as white as snow.[6] Jesus is the ONLY way, the truth and the life, and whosoever believeth in Him will not perish, but will have eternal life.[7]

That is the only thing we can present to our holy God when we face Him. That is our only “ticket” (so-to-speak) to heaven. Nothing else. Not how “good” we are or how “nice” we were to people. Not our religious affiliation or how much we influenced and supported others. Not our success or fame or even our sufferings and how we overcame them. Not how much we gave to the poor or how much we sacrificed and endured for goodness’ sake. “For we are saved by grace through faith, not by our works, lest anyone should boast.[8]

Dear friends, I hope and pray we all know this and believe it in our hearts. For life is too short to be mistaken. As the song goes, “Not because of who I am, but because of what You’ve done. Not because of what I’ve done, but because of who You are.[9]

[1] Romans3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

[2] Romans3:10 “There is no one righteous, not even one.”

[3] Romans6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

[4] Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

[5] Romans 10:9-10 “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”

[6] Isaiah1:18 “Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

[7] John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

[8] Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.”

[9] Casting Crowns, “Who am I”