Why you don’t have to be “good” to get to heaven


There are four types of people Jesus addresses in his gospel.  They have a mixture of pride or humility, ungodliness or godliness.

Lots of people confuse these categories. They assume that “good” people are humble and godly and “bad” people are sinful and proud. Being humble is “good” and it added to the mixture of good qualities nice people need to get to heaven.  Pride is bad and is mixed with other bad behaviour to write people off.  Neonomians mix humility and other good works to come up with a package of characteristics for the saved person.  This puts pressure on people to conform to a model of godliness which the ungodly feel they will never achieve and so don’t bother.

But Jesus does not see us that way. Jesus sees four combinations.  He sees humble or proud (repentant or unrepentant). He also sees ungodly and godly but he doesn’t mix these with the first two.  True humility is a product, a fruit, of knowing that only Jesus can rescue me from my sin and hell.  Humility is not a quality which earns me a place with Jesus.

The following diagram is a helpful way of seeing people the way Jesus sees us. The people above the horizontal line are saved, justified, right with God, on their way to heaven, and the people below the line are not.  I need to find ways to model this in my life and when I preach I need all four in mind.

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