PALM SPRINGS, CALIF. — The airline passenger seated next to me resided in Great Britain, but his work as a real estate developer had brought him to the United States.
He expressed his opinions on everything from Prince William to Tony Blair before telling me his own story.
“Do you have a family?” I asked.
“I’m a Christian — so at some point I’ll marry the woman I’ve been living with for seven years.”
His “Christian” claim surprised me because he wasn’t reluctant to use four-letter words and he bragged about his alcohol binges and promiscuous lifestyle.
Finally he asked what I did for a living.
“I’m a minister, an editor, and I work with an organization that helps the poor.”
He grew quiet.
“I give to a few charities myself,” he said with a chuckle. “You know — I have to balance out the bad things I do with some good things. Hopefully someday when I get to the [Pearly] Gates, God will say, ‘You drank too much and had too many women, but you were good enough … so come on in.’ ”
“That’s a risky way to live, don’t you think?” I asked as our plane landed.
“Maybe … but I’m sure it’s good enough,” he said with a grin.
This airline passenger personifies a worldview that believes salvation can be earned — that people can cancel out their sinful ways and qualify for heaven through an occasional good deed. The truth is, eternal life is a gift for those who receive Christ as Savior and follow Him as Lord; it is not a payoff for being “good enough.”
If you haven’t received the gift of eternal life, click on the ABCs of salvation. Make a decision today to follow Jesus and live by His teachings. Then you can be assured that one day you will pass through the Pearly Gates and experience the splendor of heaven.
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