“These things I have written to you…that you may know…(1 John 5:13).”
The first rule in writing a movie is to be clear. If the audience can’t follow your story, then game over. How much more important is clarity in communicating spiritual truth to a world flooded with disinformation. So who can you trust?
How about the very first Writer?
God has written a movie called “Being 100% Sure You’re Going to Heaven.” It’s playing in a Bible near you, and He lays out the logline in 1 John, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.” That’s pretty clear, but most people are still not sure.
Most hope they’re good enough to go to Heaven because they haven’t done anything really bad and guess they’re between the 40-75% range, but the Bible says that you can be 100% certain. That’s why God wrote “these things.” So how can you be 100% sure?
First, realize nobody’s perfect. Since God is perfect (holy), we cannot be with Him in Heaven or our sin would wreck it pretty quick. “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God (Isaiah 59:2).” Pretty clear, broken and alienated.
Second, good works don’t work. Would you accept a million bucks from a leper? It would be contaminated, just like our very best effort would be with a holy God. “All our most righteous deeds are like a filthy rag to God (Isaiah 64:6).”
And there is no scale to weigh our good deeds against our bad deeds. “Whoever keeps the whole Law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all (James 2:10).” If a big, red balloon represents God’s Law, how many pins are needed to break it? No matter how hard you try, you cannot make that balloon perfect again. It’s not about being good; it’s about being perfect.
Third, God’s holiness also means our sin must be punished. A sin a day is over 25,000 in 70 years, and if He ignored it, then He’d be a crooked judge. He solved this problem; loving us and punishing us, by taking it on Himself…only a perfect Person could pay our debt, so God became flesh. “He made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin, to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).” His gift makes you holy, but it’s on His terms, and “believing” can be a confusing term.
True faith is action, the plot-point most miss in His story (especially the religious who think their good works matter). Believing is not just acknowledging a fact. Demons believe, but they’re not going to Heaven (James 2:19), so what’s the difference between your belief and their belief? True, saving faith is repentance, surrendering pride and will.
This action, to take His free gift by faith, is enough to pay for all your sin. Doing good works to gain righteousness is pride, and an insult to His sacrifice (Galatians 2:16, 21). Genuine faith is a humble, thankful surrender, and receiving Him makes you as righteous as God because now He sees you through the camera lens of Jesus. But the Holy Spirit will only come into your heart “theater” if you’re showing His other film: “Jesus Alone.”
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