Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Will Your Good Works Get You to Heaven?—Are You Sure?

Yesterday as I was coming home from seminary I met a young man who was mocking me as I was reading my Bible next to him on the bus. You never really know who you’ll meet or what they have to say on the LA metro. But anyway, I could tell he was mocking me and laughing at me as I was reading my Bible next to him. So finally he leaned over to me and said: “Are you a Mormon?” I answered: “No, I’m a Christian who believes the Bible to be true.” He laughed to himself again in a jeering sort of way. Then I said: “What about you? Are you a Christian?” He said: Well, I’m Catholic…so I’m both—Christian and Catholic.” I nodded.

Then he said: “What do you do?” I told him: “I’m a pastor of a church down the road and we preach that the Bible is true that no one can work his way to heaven. But that the good news of the Bible is that Jesus Christ has earned everything that we could never earn and He died in our place if we believe in Him.” Unimpressed, he looked away and began to mock yet again. (Ironically, because he said just a few minutes ago that he was a Christian and a Catholic!) He then leaned over to me and said: “I believe that too.” Then I said to him: “So if you’re a Christian, do you know where you’re going to go when you die?” He said without hesitating for a moment, “Oh yes, I’m 99.9% sure I’m going to heaven when I die.” I said with a smile: “That’s great—how do you know that?” He said, “Well, I’ve never really done anything bad and I’m actually a very good person.” I said: “You don’t believe that!” Shocked and with a ridiculing tone he said, “Why don’t I believe that?” “Because you just told me you’re a pretty good person and that’s why you’re so confident that you’re going to heaven.” I said: “The Bible doesn’t allow for that. The Bible says you must be perfect if you want to get to heaven—and that’s why Jesus had to come.” Sorely unimpressed with our conversation and where it was headed, he got up, mid-conversation, and walked off the bus at the next stop without even responding or saying bye. As he departed, he had his familiar mocking smile painted on his face.

I thought to myself, what a sad state for that young man. We must be faithful to preach the gospel even if people mock, ridicule, and jeer. For that man did not really mock me, he mocked Jesus Christ. And that man would have been much better off had he mocked me, but because he mocked Jesus Christ, I fear for that man. I pray that Jesus Christ would so radically grip his heart and irresistibly and overwhelmingly conquer his hard-hearted spirit and impart regeneration so that he won’t stand before the Judge on that final day and hear: “Depart from me you worker of lawlessness into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Reader, be warned!


Anonymous said...

Geoff, this is a very good example of using a naturally occurrig opportunity to share the Gospel with boldess and clarity. You unmasked the fellow's vain efforts at self justification. The fact that he contiue to mock you is a reflection of his hard heart. May God ue the seeds you have sown i hi life to ber fruit unto repentance and eternal life.

I'm proud of you for your boldess and clarity!



Kurt Michaelson said...

Great testimony of your ride on the bus Geoff! I took advantage of a similar opportunity a few days agao, as I spoke to a young man wearing a Jesus Was Black t-shirt, in front of the State Supreme Court courthouse in NYC. As the conversation continued, his mother arrived and then it got better as they both were not Christians but had some knowledge of the new birth, but were not.

In the end, they each received an "Innocent or Guilty" gospel tract and I suggested two well known churches for them to attend on Sunday.

Semper fi, in Christ my friend.

thekingpin68 said...

'I said: “The Bible doesn’t allow for that. The Bible says you must be perfect if you want to get to heaven—and that’s why Jesus had to come.”'

Well stated and interesting blog.

Blogger Next Blog is connecting Christian blogs to other religious blogs now, many of them Christian.

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satire and theology


Anonymous said...

very handy, thanbx a lot for this articlw ..... This was what I was looking for.

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