One of the toughest messages to preach is that salvation is free. Some people cannot, or will not, accept this. For some, you can preach until the cows come home and they still look at you in disbelief. Is it because they don’t listen to the preacher? Or that they don’t care what the Bible says? Not necessarily so.
Most of us have been taught to pay our own way in life. Loving parents should continue to teach this for the good of their children. We need a large dose of this training today as there aren’t enough people pulling their weight. However, unfortunately, this mindset has become the thought toward Heaven. This theory figures if the good outweighs the bad we will have “worked” our way to Heaven.
According to the Holy Bible, there is only one thing we can do to warrant Heaven; that is, to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Luke says in Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” That’s it! Nothing else. Believe with our hearts in His Story; not in our heads as if it were history. It is Jesus’ atoning death; plus/minus nothing.
In the reading today in Luke 18:17, “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.” Does this mean I am to return to my childhood? Should I become that sweet, adorable little boy again (at least my mother thought so)? This reminds me of Nicodemus, when he asked Jesus in John 3:4, “…How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” The answer is an obvious no; we cannot become little children again.
Notice carefully Luke says, “As a little child.” Let me explain. To be “as” a child means just that. Little children are like sponges when it comes to God’s Word, but they are incapable of producing good works to merit Heaven. Will they not be in Heaven? God forbid! So, following this example, we grown-ups are to be receptive to God’s teaching regarding salvation and not rely on our presumed good works.
Good works do not get us to Heaven; yet, as a Christian they are required. Jesus tells us, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”(Mt. 5:16). Our works are for making others glorify God. We don’t do it to show-off or be seen, but our praises will be sung by the recipients of our good works. Let God do the horn-blowing. The only time to blow your own horn is at a job interview! Good works will get us the praise of men; but let’s strive for the praise of God!