by Aleta Kay
Most people seem to think they are good enough to get to heaven. Many religions and even Christian denominations seem to teach this. It is absolutely false. If we could be good enough then Jesus died for nothing.
From the Garden of Eden until Christ's crucifixion a blood sacrifice was necessary to absolve people of their sins. It started when God killed two animals to make clothing for Adam and Eve. When they ate of the forbidden fruit and became conscious of their nakedness, they then had to be clothed. They did not know shame or embarrassment until then.
Since that time God demanded a sacrifice periodically for atonement. I don't remember when it became a yearly sacrifice because God instituted many feasts and and holy days when sacrifices were made, but at least once a year the high priest would go into the Holy of Holies in the temple and offer the blood of slain bulls and sheep for the atonement of the sins of the people.
When the Jews were held captive as slaves in Egypt for 400 years, God at last heard the cries of His mistreated people and decided to send a deliverer in the form of Moses. Moses repeatedly asked Pharoah to let the people go. Pharoah was an unstable man and could not make up his mind. He would agree and then change his mind. Every time he said no God sent a plague to show His power and to give Pharoah the opportunity to change his mind and do what was right. After the fifth plague God divided the land so that the plagues only affected the Egyptians, not the Jews. Still, Pharoah remained stubborn.
The tenth plague promised by God was the death of the firstborn of every household. The Jews were told to prepare a lamb, the best of the flock, one per household, more if it was a large family. The blood of the lamb was to be stricken on the lintel and sides of the doorposts of their dwellings (making the points of a cross). They were then to roast the lamb and eat it quickly. If they had the blood of the lamb on the doorposts as directed they would not lose their firstborn child. If they did not they also would lose the firstborn, just as the Egyptians. They were then to leave hurriedly at dawn when the Egyptians awoke and found their firstborn dead. It wasn't until then that Pharoah agreed to let them go. In fact, he sent them away. (Then he was sorry he did and chased after them with his army, but that's another event.)
Centuries later when Jesus came on the scene, He was pronounced, "the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world." Scripture says He was led before Pilot as a lamb to the slaughter. Jesus Himself said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; and no man comes to the Father except by Me." If anyone half as good as He were treated this way today there would be an outcry from the public and justice would be demanded. Yet no one cried out in His defense and said His treatment was unjust or inhumane.
How in the world do any of us dare to think we can be good enough for a just, holy and perfect God? Our only defense is the blood of Christ, shed on a cruel cross, or tree, on a hill shaped like a skull called Golgotha. How dare we, who claim His name, dare to continue to live in our sins and excuse ourselves? Scripture says Jesus is our righteousness. We have none of our own. We are every one of us guilty before God, and if God the Father doesn't see the shed blood of Christ, the Lamb of God, applied to our lives, we will not enter into the kingdom of Heaven or the New Jerusalem.
We will not be perfect in this life because we are stuck in this sinful flesh, but we must not excuse our sin. We must constantly fight our flesh and try to do what is right in God's sight because this life is temporary. Heaven and hell are both waiting. Don't be one of those that faces Jesus and He says, "Depart from Me; I never knew you." The word Christian means follower of Christ. If you're going to claim to be a Christian, then do your best to live like one. There will be a reckoning day.