Please do not construe this as some argument against being a good person or that God ignores bad behavior in Christians. That would be far afield from the truth in salvation. Scripture requires Christians love selflessly as Christ loved selflessly (John 13:34).
What is the Moral Gospel? Some see it every day and do not even know it is standing right in front of us. Many of us know it is happening and see evidence of it in life but do not know how to address it without making someone defensive (one of my personal
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Rev 21:8)
challenges). Others think it is just the natural way of things. This is where people park for “natural humanity.” Unfortunately, humanity differs greatly from one society to another. Just ask early travelers in Fiji which was once known as the “Cannibal Isles.” Humanity was a little different to them than it is to us.
The Moral Gospel is best represented in the most common answer to the evangelist’s question, “Will you go to Heaven when you die?” The most frequent answer is, “I try to be a good person. I think God will take that into account.” That is the result of the Moral Gospel; the idea that your eternal residence will be Heaven if we are a good enough person.
The philosopher might ask, where does this idea come from? There are many reasons but probably the most accurate has the idea developing from an inner knowledge. In the Bible Romans 2:14-15 says,
“For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and [their] thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another…”
What this passage tells us is that God infused man with an inner knowledge of deity. I like to call it the spider and the web condition. The spider just knows how to spin the appropriate web and man just knows there is a God. That is why many struggle to discover God. Others struggle to deny Him. Either way man knows God is there. The Moral Gospel tries to properly balance it all.
The Moral Gospel first tries to define God. It places God on a plane man can understand – coexistent with man (all Greek mythology is based in this philosophy). The Moral Gospel says that man is judged against the actions of other men. God will group people in some way to develop a reasonable moral judgment concerning their life’s work. The good ones in box “A,” those who are okay but not “good” in box “B,” those who are worse box “C” and the really bad people in box “D.” Box “A is definitely headed through the pearly gates. Box “B” can get there if they just keep the good out weighing the bad. Box “C” has some work to do but they can get in. Box “D” is just plain headed for the fiery brimstone place. Don’t take any of the following comments as some sort of judgment. These are simply examples of the Moral Gospel thought processes. While box “A” has Mother Teresa, box “D” has to have the serial killers and Hitler types.
All that makes sense to us. Good people have nothing to fear. Normal people are always wondering, and the really bad people are just not even going to make it to the pearly gates let alone get a crack at going inside. As long as you’re as good as your neighbor, no worries. Not everyone is a J. Paul Getty and not everyone is as bad as Ted Bundy. We can relate to that.
Interestingly enough even my computer’s spell checker catches the words “really good” and “really bad” wanting to change them to “good” or “bad.” That is the way God sees things too. You either go to Heaven or not. God chooses and He has an understandable standard to meet. The most comforting and exciting thing is that you can absolutely know weather or not you are going to Heaven. It’s not arrogant, scripture says you can know. 1 John 5:13 tells us that the scriptures were written so we can,
“…believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
Luke 16:19-31 is the rich man and Lazarus. There is no in between for them. Lazarus went to Heaven in Abraham’s bosom but apparently never did a single humanitarian deed. The rich man went to Hades and apparently did nothing but eat well during his life.
God gave us the Bible so we can know Jesus Christ. In Luke 16:29 Abraham, from Heaven, tells the rich man in Hades this exact same thing. Unless people believe what the scriptures say (believe on the name of the Son of God for eternal life) they will not enter Heaven.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Jesus said, “Whosoever believeth on him (Jesus) should not perish, but have eternal life.” We are to believe in Jesus for eternal life. He is in Heaven and got there from earth.
God will not compare man to man. There is not a just man on earth who doeth good and sinneth not (Eccl 7:20). All mankind is flawed in some way. God will not use a flawed standard. Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ is the standard we must meet. He never sinned. Never look next to you, always look up to Heaven. Jesus came from there, and went back because He remained qualified to do so. Believing in Him gets you there too.