What does it take for a good religious person to enter heaven? First, consider what it takes for a person to even understand the way to heaven. Jesus said in John 7:17, “If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself.” No one who is unwilling to do the will of God is good. All people assume they are good, at least in their early years, but the Bible teaches that all people are born in sin and unwilling to please God.

Paul taught the condition of all men in his letter to the Romans when he distinguished between men of flesh and those born again in the Spirit. “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:7-8).

For this reason Jesus said to Nicodemus a man must be born again. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. “Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again'” (John 3:6-7).

I spoke to a woman on Friday who said to me, “Saint Augustine is far too dark for me, he believed that all men are inherently evil.” He wasn’t positive enough for her, as if being positive changes anything. My response was to tell her was to point out that positive or negative the most important matter is whether or not a person is speaking the truth

We live in a world filled with religious people, and yet in the 20th century alone 1.2 billion people were killed or murdered, that is they lost their lives because someone else took it. That sounds pretty dark to me. People continually make other things more important than God, which is idolatry. We have all lied at one time or another, and many people lie on a regular basis. Who has never cheated at something, had lustful thoughts, become angry at someone, lusted after another person’s possessions, gossiped as so to ruin another’s reputation? Who has never been drunk, used curse words, or thought of themselves as better than another person?

In all of the previously mentioned actions we have not been willing to do the will of God. Jesus testimony is true. According to John 7:17, only if we are willing to do the will of God can we receive what Jesus has to said. Only then will we be able to understand what He teaches. So what does it take for a good religious person to enter heaven? First, they must understand that they are not good, which they are only willing to accept after they are born again.

If Jesus is teaching the truth, a person must first be willing to do God’s

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). Once a person is born again they are then brought into a living relationship with the Son of God, whose death saves them, and friendship reveals God’s will to them.

 Therefore, Jesus words are true, “This is eternal life, that they might know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). It is this relationship with God through Jesus Christ that makes salvation possible. It is this relationship that is born out of God’s sovereign will, the actions of Christ’s sufferings on our behalf, and the Holy Spirit that makes it all real by His coming to live in our soul after regenerating us and making us alive to His person.

“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:5-7)

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Because God chooses sinful men who cannot choose to love God and serve Him on their own, we can know that God will never forsake us. Furthermore, we can know that His love is  unconditional and based on His sovereign decree. Those who have been born again are set free to choose Christ, listen to His teachings, and able, by His grace and Spirit to obey and love Him. “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you” (John 15:16).

It is knowing Jesus and trusting in His love for us that saves. It is a right relationship with Jesus and not some false religion that saves. The big question we all need to ask ourselves is, do we know Jesus? We are not to concern ourselves with the rituals, rules, procedures, forms of any particular false religion, that are taught in such a way as to replace Jesus. No, we need to know Jesus? Are you so trusting in Jesus Christ that He has become personal to you? Do you have the kind of relationship with Him that you have with other people?

If you have been married, you know what it means to know your wife far better than other acquaintances. So it is with family members that we come to know far better than mere acquaintances. Did you not come to know their strengths, loves, fears, and courage better than all others? Did you not come to love them more and more over time? Do you know Jesus like that, or is Jesus just a character in a book?

If knowing Jesus is not intensely personal then you do not know Jesus at all. If knowing Jesus does not dis-annul all other things as a mean of getting to heaven, then you do not know Jesus at all. If knowing Jesus does not make the way to heaven cle

To know Jesus is to value the next life more than this one (Hebrews 11). To know Jesus is to value His words above all worldly philosophy, and therefore to study the Bible as though it were studying Him (Colossians 2:8; 2 Timothy 2:15). To know Jesus is to forsake all the idols of this world, including the false religions that would take Jesus’ place (Exodus 20:2, 3).

I certainly hope that you know Jesus that way. I was brought up Catholic, and as one that was reared in a gigantic religion that is a cult, I know the substitute that it is for knowing Jesus. Catholicism is a substitute for Christ by adding a priesthood to the New Testament Hebrews 7-10); by creating a hierarchy of popes, cardinals, bishops and priests (Matthew 23:1-11); by adding Mary to the divine trinity (1 Timothy 2:5); by creating the treasury of merit that turns sinful men into a means of divine grace (Romans 3:10-18); and by developing the Catholic church and its traditions as equal with Jesus as a means to enter heaven (Matthew 23:13-36). There is a close comparison between the Pharisee-ism of a false Judaism and Catholicism of a false Christianity.

By these and other ways the Catholic Church is a substitution for knowing Jesus. Many are the religions and people that pretend to know God, but few are the people that truly know Jesus (Matthew 7:13, 14). There is no substitute for knowing Jesus, because no substitution for Jesus will allow a person to enter the kingdom of God.

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