He had been a member of several churches of Christ all of his adult life. He had served in many ways, even serving as an elder in two or three of those churches.
T.L. was a kind, compassionate, and loving friend. He was a car guy and he and I became fast friends soon after we met. His phone calls to me and our shared projects when I visited him are cherished memories.
When T.L. was well past his 80th birthday and Carol’s mom was about 80, one of our conversations included dying and what lies beyond the grave. Carol’s mom had also been a Christian since she was a girl. The church of Christ legacy ran back several generations in both families. In fact Carol’s father was a preacher and ministered in many churches of Christ until near his death several years ago.
We sat at the kitchen table and I listened to two dear people express to me their shared fear that they might not go to heaven. I was saddened and my heart went out to them. As they talked, one said and the other agreed, “I don’t know if I have been good enough”.
I opened a Bible and tried the best I could to give them some assurance from the Bible, to share God’s promises, but to no avail. On my birthday about two or three years after this conversation we buried my friend. Carol’s mom is now 89.
I wonder, how many Christian’s live their lives devoted to Christ and His people and face what they believe is an uncertain future? Is it tens of thousands, millions?
“T.L. was right, he had not been good enough. And, this is precisely the reason Jesus bore his sin, died for him, and was raised again for his justification. None of us are “good enough” to be approved by God. The righteousness he accepts is that of Jesus. It is that righteousness which is revealed in the gospel (Romans 1:17) and given as a free gift to those who depend on Christ alone for forgiveness and eternal life. (Romans 3:23, 4:22-25)
I suggest that perhaps we should do some house keeping ourselves before we make a fuss over the dirt in someone else’s house. What a sad commentary on over 60 years of preaching and teaching in the case of my wife’s mom and step father.
In the last decade I have seen more and more Christ centered ministry in our fellowship. People are embracing the good news of the grace of God. The joy of being freed from the yoke of trying to do it themselves is refreshing and hopeful. So, many of us keep preaching Christ and against every voice that opposes the good news about Jesus.
Truth always prevails in the end. You have not been good enough to go to heaven. Put your trust in Jesus who is your only hope. He is the way, the truth, and the life and you can be safe only in Him.