One hundred and twenty-seven years ago, the United States saw the opening of a new Immigration Station, on Ellis Island, in New York Harbor. During its 62-year history, 12 million people passed through its doors, making Ellis Island the most famous entry point to America.
Ninety-eight percent of the people who came through Ellis Island were deemed good enough to be allowed in … if their papers were in order and they showed no signs of contagious diseases, exhibited no physical or mental impairment, didn’t have a criminal record or were not an anarchist.
It may have been somewhat easy to get into America … but what about heaven? How good do you have to be in order to get into heaven? The truth: The only way that anyone can be good enough to get into heaven is to be perfectly good. Jesus says, “Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Mt.5:48)
This presents a very real and disturbing problem because every human being has inherited sin from Adam’s disobedience, which means we are all guilty of sin – in thought, word, and deed – and, by nature, are automatically disqualified from heaven.
On our own, we have no hope of ever being allowed into heaven, because its impossible for us to be perfectly good!
But rather than being done with the human race (which had destroyed the perfection of His creation, through sin), God came up with the perfect solution: He would send His Son into the world to be the Second Adam…the One who would do everything right!
God, in Jesus, became a man, because no other man, from Adam on down, could keep God’s law perfectly! Only Jesus kept the Commandments without a single discouraging word, without one misdeed, and without one unholy thought!
After living perfectly as our brother and as our Substitute, He willingly allowed His innocent life to be sacrificed on Calvary’s cross as the blood-payment for the entire world’s sins – every single one: past, present, and future. Jesus died, but He would soon pry open the jaws of death and rise again alive! And, with His resurrection victory, came the total defeat of sin, death, and even the devil, himself!
As Peter declared, “Christ… suffered once for sins in our place, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in flesh but was made alive in spirit.” (1 Peter 3:18)
In His amazing love, Jesus gifted to us His own righteousness – His perfection – the very thing needed for all who believe in Him to be able to live forever in His heaven!
“In Christ,” Paul tells us, “you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Gal. 3:26-27) By ourselves, we are not good enough to get into heaven but, by our faith in Christ, we’ve been clothed with His perfection, making heaven our eternal home!