To The Reader's Forum:
Proud of his gun-control efforts, Michael Bloomberg carried that pride into the realm of religion by boastfully declaring, "I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I'm not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It's not even close."
True to the nature of fallen man, Bloomberg thinks heaven is something that he earns. Nothing could be farther from the truth. First, he doesn't even recognize his depraved condition as a man who has offended God by sinning against His righteous laws.
Second, whatever righteousness Bloomberg or any of us have only adds up to a pile of dirty rags, according to Scripture. Boasting of his works to get him to heaven, the truth of God's Word rebukes him sharply saying, "For by grace you have been through faith. This is not of yourselves; it is a gift of God, not by works, lest any man should boast." The sin of boasting alone reveals the deceived condition of his heart. Oh, that he, by God's grace, would come under conviction and repent.
There is nothing he or anyone can do to make it to heaven. It's solely a gift to those who know their bankruptcy before the Almighty. Maybe that gives a clue to Bloomberg's heart. He has no concept of just how bankrupt he is before God. "How hard it is for a rich man to enter into heaven," Jesus said. When you think you have it all, the heart is easily deceived into thinking that you can do it all even merit heaven by something you do.
God's law bankrupts any amount of righteousness we have for eternal life. Only by trusting in, relying on and clinging to the person of Jesus Christ is there any hope. His perfect righteousness in obedience to God to the point of death on the cross is credited to us and pulls us out of spiritual bankruptcy. Though we deserve judgment for our sin, we receive through faith the blessed gift of God's righteousness in Christ. That's what puts amazing into grace. The fact that it's grace only shows that no work by man has any merit. All the worth is found exclusively in the work of Christ. Heaven is by grace alone through faith alone on account of Christ alone to the glory of God alone.
The Rev. Mel McGinnis