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  • Writer's pictureJohan Smith

Grace is everything

Why is it that nowadays so many good people wonder about an abundant life today and the eternal life one day? Why are so many people unsure about where they’ll spend eternity? Many people today still answer that they ‘hope’ they’ll go to heaven one day. Many others ‘think’ they’ll go to heaven. If based on merits, their ‘marks’ probably look better than average.

One of the many reasons why people think and reason this way, is that we live and work in a performance-driven society. Everything is about earnings. Hard work is rewarded. You must earn a promotion and salary increase. Nothing is just given to you. Oh no, you work hard for everything. With God it works differently, and yet so few people really understand it.

Research and statistics by the Barna Foundation in America show the following: 54% of all Americans still believe that by doing good things they’ll go to heaven, and in this way earn their place there. Many people believe that a good life equals heaven. I don’t believe the figures in our country will look much different. People think they must impress God and earn good marks in His books. You therefore have one of two choices: do more good - things like reading the Bible, praying and going to church. You may think that if God judges you now, He must give you good marks. The other side is: do less bad - thus, stop swearing, smoking, drinking and all sorts of impure things. Now you score good and high marks with God - many people think like this. This attempt is centered on reward and therefore, based on your good life, you’ll get to heaven.

But how then does it work that a murderer on the cross next to Jesus, ended up with Him in heaven? And not when? But the same day - he couldn’t climb down and go and prepare to earn heaven. No, when he drew nearer to Jesus, His answer in Luke 23:43 was:

Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise - NIV.

The man was spiritually bankrupt when he approached Jesus. He realised that he was a sinner and in need of a Redeemer. He also realised that he couldn’t save himself and therefore called out to Jesus. At that moment he is redeemed, and his sin is forgiven, and Jesus gives him the assurance that he is on his way to heaven. The word ‘today’ says it all! And it’s all through grace! Have you made that grace your own, or are you still busy with a futile little reward game?

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