FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA

Local lifestyle columnists

Admittance to heaven is not based on devotion, sincerity

By From page D2 | May 25, 2014

Recently, Michael Bloomberg, former 108th mayor of New York City, gave an interview to the New York Times.

He talked about his mortality and, at age 72, how it started dawning on him that many he knew had passed on. With just a few days before his 50th college reunion, he was taken aback by how many of his former classmates appeared in the “in memoriam” pages of his school newsletter. He confidently said he had little doubt about what awaited him at Judgment Day. Stressing his work on gun safety, obesity and smoking cessation he said with a smile, “I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven, I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in . . . I have earned my place in heaven.  It’s not even close.”

This belief is not uncommon among men. Politicians of all stripes and parties, as well as the average ordinary citizen, believe that some how, if they are sincere enough, they will find themselves in heaven.

Once I talked to a leader in the Boy Scouts who believed that heaven was his because of his work with the national headquarters of that organization. Another man told me he was covered because his brother was a priest and his sister was a nun. He believed that he could rely on their faith and devotion to secure his own salvation.

Jesus once spoke about a religious man who faithfully attended religious services, was generous in giving and practiced his faith daily; yet ended up lost without forgiveness.

In Luke 18:9-14, Jesus gave this story, “And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others. Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house, justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

The way of salvation is not based on our devotion or our sincerity. Jesus said in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Salvation is when we humble ourselves before a righteous God and through His Son Jesus, ask for the forgiveness we desperately need but can’t earn by human efforts. Those who think they are good enough will discover the truth as they stand before a holy God.

Human efforts and misplaced faith is no substitute for salvation in Jesus Christ.

The Rev. Art Zacher is pastor at Berean Baptist Church in Fairfield. He can be reached at [email protected]

The Rev. Art Zacher

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Discussion | 12 comments

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  • Rita GoldenMay 25, 2014 - 2:09 am

    Amen!

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  • just sayin'May 25, 2014 - 2:56 pm

    Agreed. Amen & God Bless

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  • Art ZacherJune 02, 2014 - 10:09 pm

    Thank you for your encouraging comment. nice to know that I am not fighting evil alone.

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  • Rita GoldenJune 03, 2014 - 12:39 pm

    What so many people refuse to believe is that we are in a spiritual battle for our souls which are eternal. We all have the free will to believe as we chose. I chose to believe in God who is merciful and just. I know the changes that have been made within me because I gave my life to Him. It's something a person must experience for their self to understand. God bless all who read this and I pray that you will listen to the Holy Spirit as He speaks to your mind and heart to come to God and receive His only begotten Son, Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Amen

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  • PornacMay 25, 2014 - 6:51 am

    Believeth in the only god and be freed from all your sins. My guns protect me in this life so I can eat and live under a bridge with my Muslim friends.

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  • 2realMay 25, 2014 - 7:24 am

    God bless you all!

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  • Danny BuntinMay 25, 2014 - 11:00 am

    At the end of the day, this fairytale is not about right and wrong. It is about bowing down a pleading for your life. Same as all the other fairy-tales that involve a invisible man in the sky.

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  • CD BrooksMay 25, 2014 - 11:05 am

    Live, then die and turning to dust seems like so little to look forward to? CD Brooks Common Sense 5:14, “Be a good person. Respect others and treat them fairly. Be honest. Love your family.” I'm going with living well while giving my best here and now! ;)

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  • Jason KnowlesMay 25, 2014 - 2:38 pm

    Good to know. Commit any and every act of evil and immorality, then recant on your deathbed, and Heaven shall be yours! Be a good person, help those in need, and have a sincere devotion to service...sorry not enough! The god about whom Zacher writes sounds like nothing more than an egomaniacal dictator. Not concerned with how you comport yourself, but as long as you worship him, you're golden. What a load of BS.

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  • SalMay 25, 2014 - 3:54 pm

    Religion is the opium of the people, keep em drugged and they will keep acting like robots.

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  • Art ZacherJune 04, 2014 - 11:47 pm

    Nice try. You know somebody who recanted on their death bed? I don't. Same old wicked nonsense passed off as intellectual gibberish.

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  • CD BrooksJune 05, 2014 - 6:31 am

    Looky here, Zacher talking about "intellectual gibberish!" Gibberish is your business man, garbage in garbage out. Great living if you can get though eh?

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