1. Hell is for bad people. “I am not a bad person. Well, at least compared to a lot of people you hear about. I don’t kill people, I am not a pedophile, and I do not rob banks. So if I am not going to hell, I must be going to heaven.” The problem with this approach is that you are using the wrong standard of comparison. The standard is a perfect God. That is who lives in heaven. How do you measure up compared to him? Being better than a really bad person is hardly a qualification to live with a perfect God forever.
2. But I really am a good person. But are you good enough? How good do you have to be? How many bad things does it take to disqualify you from heaven? If God is perfect, where does that leave even the really good person? There is not anyone of us who has never done something he should not have done. And all of us have failed to do something we should have done.
3. But I am better than a lot of the Christians I meet. That may, or may not, be true. But here is the key difference. Christians are not going to heaven because of how good they are. We Christians are deeply convicted that we are not good enough to live with God. But Jesus, God’s son, is. He came to earth and did what none of us has done. He lived a perfect life. Then he gave that life to pay for our imperfections. So it is not our goodness that will get us to heaven. It is our faith in Jesus. That will get us to heaven.
You do not have to be good enough. Or better than everyone – or anyone – else. You just have to have faith. I can help you with that. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org or join the blog discussion at www.hopeforlife.org.