Christianity is not a formula, but the Person of Jesus Himself. Never think that Christianity is a matter of adjusting behavior, but rather, of letting Christ live through us in His strength and power. — Malcolm Smith
There are a lot of mythstakes out there about heaven, hell, and eternity. Some are foolish and some are selfish. The last myth on my list, however, is the one that breaks my heart the most: The “need-not-apply” mythstake.
Many people believe the “good-guy” and “good-try” myths—but they’re honest enough to know they don’t have a chance to make it. They believe only good people will make it into heaven, and they’re smart enough and humble enough to know that they’re not good. Their honesty deflates their hope, for they know they’re guilty: a lost cause, a hopeless case, a reject. Why even try? There’s no point. It’s useless. No need to apply for eternal life.
And they’re right... partially.
They’ve only been told half the truth—the half about sin and how it separates us from God. The other half of the Gospel is truly Good News to people who know they’re bad. The message of Christ’s love and sacrifice is like a crystal-clear splash of ice water to those dying of thirst in the deserts of sin and shame. The people making this mythstake are often stunned when they hear the rest of the story—what God has done for them through the Person of Jesus Christ:
What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:21-23)
That’s the Good News, and it never gets old. It’s the gift you receive once, but it keeps on giving every breath of every day until you take your last breath and step into eternity with Him forever.
Heavenly Father, how can I praise You for Your lavish grace and unending mercy? On the basis of what Your Son Jesus did, I choose to trust You to cleanse me and enable me to live free of sin, guilt, and condemnation today! No more shame, Lord. I rest in the completeness of your forgiveness and the presence of Your Spirit in me. Amen.