Most people like to think that if there is a heaven, the way you get in is by living a good life and earning your place. In fact most religions work on this assumption and it does seem to make a lot of sense. We’re always told that in this life we get what we deserve, so why not in the afterlife also? But there’s a problem. How good is good enough? What if you work hard all your life and achieve 80% ‘goodness’ and then it turns out the pass mark was 85%? To live like this means to live a life of constant striving and uncertainty.
A few years ago some students in England sat exams and thought they had done enough to achieve a good grade. But then the exam board moved the grade boundary and many who thought that they had passed, discovered that they had failed. Disappointment doesn’t begin to describe how they felt.
The good news of Jesus, and the heart of the Christian faith, is that God knows that we can never be good enough. He offers us eternal life not as a reward but as a gift.