The story is told that W.C. Fields was near death and lying in a hospital. His wife came in and found him reading the Bible. “W.C.” she exclaimed, “I thought you didn’t believe in any of that stuff! What are you doing reading the Bible?”
“Looking for loopholes, my dear. Looking for loopholes!”
Many people have the idea that the Judgment Day is going to be just that: a cosmic courtroom. God will be the judge and Satan and Jesus will square off as opposing attorneys. These same people view the Bible as some kind of legal code and would be happy extracting the commandments to make obedience somewhat simpler. I can just see an angel pulling us over and giving us a ticket.
“What did I do Gabriel?”
“You just broke ordinance 10-A, ‘Skipping Bible School without a valid excuse.’”
This view of the Christian system is similar to that of people who believe God is some kind of “Great Accountant in the Sky.” On the Day of Judgment the books are balanced and if you have a surplus of good deeds you can enter the Pearly Gates but if there is a deficit, it’s the fast track to hotter climes.
So, just how good is “Good Enough”? Jesus raised the bar so high, no one can be good enough! Listen to what he said in the Sermon on the Mount:
Matthew 5:21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.
Matthew 5:27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
You see what makes Christianity different is, it isn’t about being “Good Enough.” It’s about being forgiven. When Jesus was crucified, there was a violent criminal being crucified along side him. Here was a man who admitted he was getting just what his crimes deserved, but he asked Jesus to remember him, and Christ promised, “Today you will be with me in Paradise,” (Luke 23:43).
It’s not about being good enough – Christianity is about being forgiven.