Spending eternity in heaven (versus hell) is the goal all Christians aspire to. I certainly don’t want my eternal home to be a place of turmoil. Matthew 25:46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
I definitely desire eternal life over eternal punishment, don’t you?
So how do we get there? We know popularity breeds perks on earth, however, it guarantees no special key to open heaven’s gate. And though I like being helpful, the Bible tells us neither do acts of good works get us into heaven. For no one is a “good” person; there is only one who is good and that is God Himself.
Romans 3:23 tells us that none of us are perfect as God is. for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Fact is, we can be the kindest person on the block, mowing our elderly neighbor’s lawn or babysitting a single mom’s children for free. Both wonderful acts of kindness and concern.
But the Truth is – simply providing good works does not keep us from hell.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
Does this mean that all our well-intentioned acts of kindness mean nothing to God? No, in fact the Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the church at Thessalonica explaining to them the importance of keeping busy and doing God’s work.
2 Thessalonians 3:11-13 We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat. And as for you, brothers and sisters, never tire of doing what is good.
Paul was not telling them to keep busy so that their good deeds would secure them a place in heaven. Paul was instructing them to follow what Christ did and said because – this is what Christians are called to do. Christ loved all and showed His love to all. So Paul was reminding these new Christians that we are to love as Christ loved.
It is through Christ’s love that our acts of kindness are born.
They knew and received the love that Jesus had for them. They knew about His sacrifice on The Cross and they believed in His power. Paul was praying for them that their hearts would remain true to God with their deeds.
2 Thessalonians 3:5 May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.
If we are faithful followers of Jesus, goodness springs forth because of His power within us, not simply because it is the right thing to do. The new believers knew they should do good because their faith was growing. Yet the church in Thessalonica had become idle as they waited expecting Christ to return to them very soon. And they were still enduring Christian persecution, which brought about some confusion of when Christ will return.
When Paul heard about this he wrote:
2 Thessalonians 1:11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.
To be “worthy” means to want to do what is right and good.
2 Thessalonians 2:13-15 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as first fruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.
These “teachings” include doing good works because that is part of the glory of Jesus Christ.
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