When people talk about going to heaven, they may be thinking of living in the ultimate paradise where they can finally live the way they want.
When the Bible talks about heaven, it is referring to the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven. The kingdom of heaven is about living under God’s rule and authority. It also means that we have a relationship with God.
God is love. He is light. He is life. God is good.
God is also holy. Wherever He rules, His realm is morally good.
So, it makes sense that good people get to go to heaven, to live with God. People think that if they are good enough, they can earn their way into heaven. But how good would we have to be to qualify for citizenship in the Kingdom of heaven?
To answer this question, we first need to understand what we mean by “good”.
God Is Good
We can define “good” in many different ways in our everyday life. What is good to one person may not be good enough for another.
To enter heaven, we cannot decide for ourselves what is good and what is good enough. It is God’s definition of “good” that matters because heaven is His domain. We can enter it only on His terms.
God defines “good” as Himself and His way. What He does is good. What He tells us is good. What He commands us to do is good. His thoughts toward us are good because God is love. He is the definition and essence of goodness.
Then, to be good is to obey God, to live in His way. It is more than following His rules like programmed robots but rather living in a harmonious fellowship with God under His benevolent authority.
This is why we cannot be good enough to go to heaven. We are all rebellious against God. We would rather be in charge of our lives rather than submit to His authority.
What emotions well up in you as you hear “obedience to God”? Don’t you just naturally rebel against the idea and resent the notion? You hesitate and doubt if you can really trust Him.
You may have reasons why you cannot or would not trust God, let alone, submit to Him. It is true that most of us have gone through painful experiences. Evil is real, and people have experienced that God seemed absent in their life when they needed Him the most. It is an important point but a topic for another conversation.
Let’s come back to being good enough to go to heaven.
To enter heaven, we cannot pick and choose our own individual standards of goodness because heaven belongs to God. His definition of good is to live in His way under His authority, in a relationship of love and trust.
If we cannot earn our way to heaven by our own good works, what is God’s solution? Find out NEXT.