Monday, June 11, 2012

Getting to Heaven

There is a fun children's song I was introduced to a few years ago. It's called, You Can't Get to Heaven on Roller Skates. It sounds like a good song to teach children song about salvation by grace and not by works (or mode of transportation). In another version of the song, it may teach a few other things - "you can't get to heaven in a miniskirt." The song is cute and fun, but none of the versions ever explain how a person enters heaven. The audience is still left with an incomplete understanding of how to get to heaven. When there's a lack of clarity, people fill in the blanks with their own understanding and assumptions. The religious leaders in the first century lived with an incorrect understanding of acceptance before God. Based on a strict, ethical code the Pharisees attempted to live in such a way that granted them access before God. Mark jibes at their excessive rules they thought would make them blameless(7.4). By their everyday living and adherence to the elders' tradition, they expected to have an open door to God. They tried to attack Jesus based on their tradition in an attempt to silence Him and squelch His growing fame. The attack showed their lack of understanding and Jesus' superiority. Jesus looked past their tradition and quoted the prophet Isaiah (7.6-7). Jesus ignored their trivial accusation to show the greater issue at stake - worship. Jesus supported His claim by proving from the Law their traditions were self-seeking and and therefore, false worship (7.9-13). The Pharisees might as well put out a cute children's album because they were just as clueless about knowing God as someone trying to get to heaven on roller skates in a miniskirt. They missed the point of the Law and ultimately, missed the Messiah. There aren't any rituals a person can perform that provide righteousness before God. There's no rituals you perform that make you a "good" Christian or a "bad" Christian. Believing the Gospel is an everyday experience of God's grace. When you believe the promise of the Gospel, the Holy Spirit makes your dead heart alive in Christ. Following Christ is an act of grace the Holy Spirit leads us in every step of the way. There's no work we perform that adds to our salvation. It's all Christ's righteousness in us that allows us to stand before God. May God point us to His amazing grace.