Not too long ago I finished reading Andy Stanley’s book “How Good is Good Enough”. I wish I would have read this book prior to the conversation with my close friend I mentioned in an earlier post. This is a question I struggled with when asked why God would let “good” people go to hell simply for not accepting Jesus as Lord and savior. One point Stanley brought up is the lack of a specific metric to indicate what equals “good”. Good to me may very not mean good to someone else. Is good just never killing anybody? If so, that is an easy one! Does good mean never comitting adultery? No sweat! The Bible throws a wrench into the “I am a good person” theory. Jesus explains in Matthew 5:28, “But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart”. Say what?!? So if you even think about lusting after another woman you have already sinned. For some, this point alone makes the “good” thing not so easy. Let’s look at extremes. Is the meaning of “good” in the mind of Hitler congruent with the meaning of good to Billy Graham? Not likely. The New Testament is chock full of occurrences of Jesus forgiving people who were far from the average individual’s definition of good. Jesus forgives prostitutes and tax collectors and people who were routinely cast from society.
So why would God allow good people to go to Hell? Keep in mind that good compared to woldly people is not much of an accomplishment. Everyone is full of sin of one kind or another. The key to Heaven is striving to be good relative to Jesus. The Bible gives very clear instructions on how to achieve this. Not necessarily easy instructions to follow, but instructions nonetheless. I suppose following the instructions laid out in the Bible has got to be easier than attempting to conform to some human definition of good with no specific set of guidelines or boundaries. Ultimately, being good just isn’t good enough, but we have a pretty decent “how-to” book on doing what it takes.