Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City, once said, “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.” He apparently said this in view of his tireless crusades against obesity, smoking and gun control. (I wonder if he mentioned anything about his faith in Christ?)
Mr Bloomberg's comments may seem presumptuous and arrogant to Christians, as well they should. According to the Bible, "by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast" Eph. 2:8-9. Isaiah observed that our righteous works are as filthy rags in the God's sight – Isa. 64:6. Moreover, Jesus declared that we are unprofitable servants even when we do everything God asks of us - Luke 17:10.
But before criticizing Mr Bloomberg, we should examine our own thinking. Do we ever assume that we will be admitted to Heaven because we:
· Attend church three times weekly?
· Give generously each Sunday?
· Read our Bibles daily?
· Pray several times a day?
· Help the poor?
· Are a faithful husband, wife, father, mother, father, etc?
Don't misunderstand - obedience to Jesus, including doing good works, demonstrate genuine faith - Jam. 2:14ff. But heaven isn’t a matter of attainment, it’s a matter of atonement - 1 John 2:2. Salvation does not occur because of the good we do, but because of good that Jesus did when He died on the cross in our place - 1 Pet. 2:24.
None of us will enter heaven because God owes it to us. We will enter because we truly believe that Jesus Christ paid the debt that we can never pay ourselves - 1 Pet. 3:18.
Jesus, always Jesus!