I have talked about this topic for years. Every time I bring it up, people roll their eyes with the expression I am at best “ill informed” and at worst “a blasphemer”. Bear with me, for I think by the end of this article you will agree with me.
There is a common belief that the Bible provides rules for behavior that when followed will result in a person being able to get into Heaven. But that is not the purpose of the Bible.
First and foremost, the Bible reveals who God is. It unveils a God Who has limitless grace, fathomless mercy, boundless love, and unexplainable creative powers.
But also, God has provided the Bible as a User’s Manual or Operating Instructions enabling humans to live a proper life on earth. Examples are:
- Concerning finances, consider Luke 6:38; “Give, and it will be given to you … good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over into your lap. For the measure you use it will be measured back to you”. And, Philippians 4:19; “And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus”.
- Concerning relationships, consider Col 3:8, 9 “And, you’ve got to put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other”.
- Concerning illness and suffering, consider James 1: 2, 3; “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness”.
When we do not follow the guidance provided in the Bible, we open ourselves to all types of unpleasant circumstances; heartache, fear, financial disaster, and depression. However, following God’s manual for correct living gives us peace, hope, and internal strength to deal with whatever life presents us (Philippians 4:13; “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me”).
So, the Bible is a valuable document and deserves the title of being the most popular book ever written. However, back to my opening comment, the Bible has no rules which will result in our ability to enter heaven.
The reason this is true is that Christianity is technically not a religion. Religions tell people what they must do to become right with God. Christianity, on the other hand, tells people there is NOTHING they can do to become right with God. Mankind has fallen short of the glory of God (sinned) with no way to correct it. Because God knew this, He devised a plan to satisfy His perfect justice for mankind’s mistakes.
That plan was to send someone (Jesus) who was in total fellowship with God (never sinned) and substitute His death for all mankind, thereby atoning for all our wrongdoing and restoring our relationship with Him. Mankind had no way to do it, so God (through Jesus’ death and resurrection) did it all.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but save the world through Him”. (John 3:16, 17).
Therefore, there are no rules in the Bible we can follow to enter Heaven. There is absolutely nothing we can do. Our only route is to understand the path God has provided for us and follow it; not by anything we do, but by simply believing (i.e., relying on, trusting in and adhering to) what Jesus did for us.