The World's Biggest Lie
Its safe to say it is the biggest lie that has ever entered the human mind. Most people in the world believe it. Name any country you want. The majority of people have swallowed it whole. These people are sincere. They bet their whole future on it. They are convinced because it seems to reasonable. And they are hard to change...their mind is made up. What is the lie? It is the falsehood that, when you die, God weighs your good works and your bad works in a scale. If your good works outweigh your bad ones, you'll go to heaven. If your bad works are heavier, you'll go to hell. That is absolutely false.
ONE of the most common versions of the lie is that salvation comes by keeping the Ten Commandments. So let us list those commands and see how we do.
They are as follows:
You must have no other God. This means that God must come first in your life.
You must not worship idols or even make them.
You must not take the name of the Lord in vain. That is, in profanity.
You are to set aside one day of the week for worship, service and rest.
You must honor your parents.
You must not commit murder, either in thought or in actual deed.
You must not commit sexual immorality, either in lust or in the act itself.
You must not steal.
You must not lie.
You must not covet. Coveting takes place in the mind. The tenth commandment calls for a clean thought life.
Here’s the problem
Now let me tell you what the Bible teaches about the Ten Commandments. No one born of human parents has ever kept them. No one can keep them perfectly. The law requires complete, not partial, obedience. To break one commandment is to break all ten. God never intended the law to be a ladder to heaven. The purpose of the law is to show us that we are all sinners. “By the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:23). The consistent testimony of the Bible is that we are all sinners.
“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
There is not a just man who does good and does not sin” (Ecclesiastes 7:20).
“The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
“Behold I was brought forth in iniquity and in sin my mother conceived me. (Psalms 51:5). There is none who does good, no not one” (Romans 3:12).
Because we are sinners, we are unfit for heaven. God is holy and cannot look on sin with any degree of approval or tolerance. Sin must be punished and the penalty for sin is death, that is, eternal separation from God. Before anyone can be sure of heaven, his sins must be forgiven.
Other versions of the lie
So far, we have seen that the Ten Commandments are not the passport to heaven. They expose us as guilty and unfit to go there. Now before we get to God’s answer to man’s dilemma, let us list some other versions of the biggest lie. Just obey the Golden Rule. “Just do as you would have men do to you, do also unto them” (Luke 6:31). Or, just be confirmed. Or, just be baptized. Just join a church. Just take Holy Communion. Just do penance for your sins. Just depend on prayers, tithing and fasting. Just give to charity. Just turn over a new leaf. Just do the best you can. Good or not, these are not enough to make us right with God. All variations of the lie have this in common: you earn or merit salvation by doing good works, or by living a clean life. Doesn’t this seem reasonable? It may seem reasonable, but it is utterly false. The Bible says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25).
Then what is the way to heaven?
Now then, if you don’t get to heaven by doing good works, how do you get there? How can you be sure of going to heaven when you die? Let me explain.
God sent His Son to earth to die as a substitute for sinners. On the cross of Calvary, the sinless Savior shed His blood to pay the penalty for man’s sins. He died for the ungodly so that they might spend eternity with Him in heaven. When you repent of your sins and believe on Christ as your Lord and Savior, God saves you. Your sins are all forgiven. You receive eternal life. The moment you trust Jesus Christ as your only hope for heaven, you are as saved as God can make you. What do we mean by repent? It means to acknowledge to God that you are a guilty sinner, and that you don’t deserve to be saved. But you do deserve to go to hell. You’ll never be saved until first you know you are lost.
Taking God at His word
The next word is “believe.” If one thing is clear in the Bible, it is that salvation is by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. Listen to these verses.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). There is enough in that one verse for a person to be saved for all eternity. “He who believes on the Son has everlasting life, and he who does not believe on the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36). This tells that there are only two possibilities. You either believe or you don’t. You’re either saved or you’re lost. “He who believes in Me has everlasting life,” Jesus said (John 6:47). It’s so simple–“Has everlasting life.” Has it now–you don’t have to wait until you die. “He who has the Son has life” (1 John 5:12). Salvation is in a person and His name is Jesus. As I said before, if you have Him, you are as saved as God can make you.
Can we know for sure?
There is one other passage in the Bible that summarizes all that we have said. It’s Ephesians 2 verses 8-10: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
Now let us examine the passage step by step. “For by grace.” This means that we don’t deserve to be saved. It’s completely unmerited. “For by grace you have been saved.” Clearly, it is possible to know that you are saved. The Ephesians to whom Paul wrote certainly knew. He says, “you have been saved through faith.” Faith is believing. Saving faith is believing Christ. “And that not of yourselves.” We cannot save ourselves or contribute to our own salvation. “It is the gift of God.” Salvation is a gift which we receive when we believe. “Not of works.” We cannot do any meritorious works to save ourselves. “Lest any man should boast.” There is no room for boasting in God’s plan of salvation. We do all the sinning, Christ does all the saving. “For we are His workmanship.” Every believer is a new creation. “In Christ Jesus.” That means in union with Him. “For good works.” This is important. Good works are not the means of salvation, they are the result. They are not the root, they are the fruit. We are not saved by good works; we are saved unto good works. “Which God before prepared that we should walk in them.” God has a blueprint for every life. Our responsibility is to discover and do it.
But how do we know?
How does a person know when he is saved? He knows it first and foremost by the Word of God. If he repents and believes, the true and living God says He will save that person. God cannot lie.
As time goes by, the believer knows by changes in his life. He has a desire to obey the Lord. He has a desire to do good works. He has a new love of holiness. He has a new hatred of sin. He loves the Word of God. He has a love for prayer. He desires to share the Good News with others. He loves his fellow Christians.
Now is the time to decide
You ought to trust Christ. A life of fulfillment depends on it. An eternity of blessing is at stake. You ought to trust Christ now. Life is uncertain. You are not promised tomorrow. You ought to trust Christ now because “this is the day of salvation.” To reject the Savior is tantamount to saying to Him, “You haven’t done anything for me that makes it appropriate for me to make you my Lord and Savior.” To refuse God’s invitation is to call Him a liar. “He who does not believe God has made Him a liar because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.” (1 John 5:10).
It’s a decision between life and death. Choose life, won’t you? —