By the Book: A conversation about sin and salvation
by Anthony Cook
Jun 30, 2012 | 2671 views |  0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
“All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes ...” (Proverbs 16:2a)

Members of my church try to spend about an hour each week talking with nearby residents about their faith.

When I asked a young lady recently where she would go when she dies, she confidently said she’d go to heaven.

When I asked why she believed that, she said it’s because she goes to church when she gets a chance, and she takes good care of her 2-year-old son, and she works hard at her job and she treats people right.

By the common man’s standards, she’s a good person. But it’s not the common man’s standards that get us to heaven; it’s God’s standards.

“So, do you consider yourself to be a good person?” I asked her.

“Oh, yeah, I’m a good person.”

“Then would you mind taking a quick test to see how good you are?”

“Sure,” she said.

I asked her if she’d ever told a lie.


I asked her if she’d ever stolen anything, even something small.


I reminded her that Jesus said lust is the same as committing adultery in our hearts (Matthew 5:27-28). Then I asked if she’d ever lusted.


“You’ve just admitted to me that you’re a lying, thieving adulterer at heart,” I said to her. “Does that sound like a good person to you?”

No, she said, almost smiling in astonishment at the revelation.

“If God were to judge you based on those things, would you go to heaven or hell?” I asked her.


“Does that concern you?”


Of course it does. Nobody in their right mind wants to go to hell. But very few people are worried about hell because we’re all under the misconception that we’re good enough.

But going to church isn’t good enough.

Getting baptized isn’t good enough.

Visiting the sick isn’t good enough.

Giving to charity isn’t good enough.

Even if we never sin again, we’re still guilty of the wrongs we’ve committed. We’re not good enough. What do we do about that? What can we do to please God?

We can’t do anything, but there’s someone who can … and did.

Jesus lived a perfectly holy and sin-free life, and then he died for the sins of the world.

The Father raised him from the dead, not because he let him off the hook, but because Jesus completely satisfied all requirements to have eternal life. And it’s only by faith in that gospel can we have the righteousness that makes us good enough. (2 Cor. 5:21)

It would be an insult to Jesus if the Father allowed any other way into heaven. (Acts 4:12)

Only Jesus is good enough.

Managing Editor Anthony Cook is pastor at Christian Fellowship Bible Church. He is the author of “By the Book,” available at local Christian bookstores or online. Phone, 256-235-3558. Email, Twitter, acook_star.
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By the Book: A conversation about sin and salvation by Anthony Cook

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