The Gift Of God
Three ministers and their wives were all on a Caribbean cruise. A rogue wave came up, swamped the ship, and they all drowned. Next thing they knew, they were standing before St. Peter outside the gates of Heaven. First in line were a Presbyterian and his wife. St. Peter shook his head sadly and said, "I can't open the gates for you and your wife. You were both moral and upright, but you loved money too much. You, Pastor, loved money so much you even married a woman named Penny. Please stand in front of the ladder to your left." Thinking they would still have the opportunity to just climb up the ladder over the wall, the minister smiled at his wife. After they made their way left to the ladder, St. Peter waved his hand, a hole appeared in the cloud, and down the chute to Hell they went.
Next was a Southern Baptist minister and his wife. "Sorry, I can't open the gates for you two either. You abstained from liquor and dancing and cards, but you loved food too much. Pastor, you loved food so much you even married a woman named Candy. However, IÕd like you both to please stand in front of the ladder to your right."
The minister almost jumped for joy and said to his wife, ÒWeÕre going right. WeÕre going right!Ó Sadly, when they had taken the path to the designated ladder, St. Peter waved his hand again; the cloud opened, and down the chute to Hell went the Southern Baptists.
After witnessing the events unfold, the Pentecostal minister turned to his wife and whispered nervously, "It ain't looking too good, Fanny." Author Unknown
In this spiritual game of Chutes and Ladders, nobody gained entrance into Heaven. All six were channeled down the chute to Hell because they just weren't good enough. They all had some good human qualities, but in the end, their qualifications were lacking. Today, most jokes, anecdotes or movies we hear or view list the requirement of goodness as the main prerequisite for entering Heaven. So, to many people, the norm for getting into Heaven is based solely on how good or bad we are during eighty or so revolutions around our golden orb. However, the Scriptures warn us about that kind of thinking. The Bible says that kind of thinking will eventually lead us to death Ð eternal separation from God in Hell.
God says we can't climb our way into Heaven on a ladder whose legs are based on human goodness. Neither can we miss the chute to Hell by being a lot better than the bastard next door. Scripture declares us all to be sinners, and that the wages of sin is death. We all deserve Hell. Yet, God loved sinners so much that He sent Jesus to shed His blood to pay the price required to purchase our souls. Paul has already written that we were dead in our transgressions and sins, making us incapable of choosing God until He, by His grace, gave us the faith to believe. It is a gift more valuable than any other, as Jesus redeems us and imparts His goodness to us. It is His goodness alone that God sees when He looks at us, and only divine goodness makes us worthy of spending eternity in Heaven with Him. It is grace, grace, GodÕs grace, grace that is greater than all our sin. It is marvelous, infinite, matchless grace, and it is freely bestowed on all who believe! Jesus is the ladder! Believe in Him!
Mountain Time Moment
For by grace you have been saved through faith,
and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
Ephesians 2:8 NKJV
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