How bad do you have to be to get into heaven?

Really bad. 

Like sinner-level bad.

But don’t worry, you qualify!

You see, the Apostle Paul, in the Bible, says, “all have sinned…” (Romans 3:23). And James says that a person who “stumbles at one point” of God’s law, is guilty of “breaking it all” (James 2:10). God considers a person who has committed just one sin to be a sinner. So, if you have sinned, you are a sinner, and thus eligible to enter heaven.

But, there’s a “catch:” God can’t actually let sinners into heaven. This is because God is holy and because sin leads to death- not eternal life.
In Leviticus 20:26, God declares to his people, “I, the Lord, am holy…” (To be holy is to be “clean” or “set apart.” And, in God’s case, morally pure and undefiled.) God requires the people who enter his presence to be holy, too- but sinners are, by definition, not holy.
Additionally, Romans 6:23 says, “the wages of sin is death.” Therefore, when a person sins- a little or a lot- not only do they demonstrate that they are not holy, they earn the wages of their sin: death.
Heaven is a place of holiness where holy people go to enjoy eternal life, so sinners cannot get into heaven just because they are bad. (I know it sounds like I’m contradicting my earlier statements, but I’m not. Please, let me explain.)

Here’s the truth: terrible sinners, who practice sin, cannot get into heaven. And people who think they are “not that bad,” can’t get in on their own, either.

But sinful people can get into heaven. Here’s how:

There is only way for a sinner to get to heaven: it’s by realizing that you are, in fact, a sinner, and that you can do nothing to clean yourself up; admitting that you need God’s help; seeking to understand His plan for salvation; and responding in faith to His gracious offer to save you, cleanse you of your sin, and bring you into heaven.

Here’s the good news: Paul says in 1 Timothy 1:15 that, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15)!

Jesus also told the Pharisees, “It is not those who are healthy who need a doctor, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31-32).

God knows that sin keeps people out of heaven, but he also wants people to be with him in heaven. So, he sent his Son, Jesus, to “seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10). Jesus came from heaven to earth, lived a perfect life, and was killed as a sacrificial offering. Jesus’ blood was shed on the cross and John explains that, “the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). God now accepts every sinful person who puts their faith in Jesus, forgives them of their sin, and empowers them to live holy lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. He promises that, “everyone who believes in [Jesus] will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

So there you have it. If you have committed one sin, you are a sinner, and therefore, bad enough to get into heaven. But are you humble enough to receive the salvation God offers and actually get in?

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