I often ask people, "What do you think a person has to do to go to heaven?" Most people respond by saying something like this, "Do the best you can, Live a good life, observe the golden rule, keep the 10 commandments, etc." But I'd like to ask you, "Has anyone really kept the 10 commandments?" The 10 commandments are indeed God's standard of righteousness (Rom. 7:12), but who has ever kept them?

       Most of us have a tendency to compare ourselves with other people. If you compared yourself to me or some church member that you've known, you may look pretty good. But have you ever compared yourself to God's standard of goodness, the 10 commandments?

       The 10 commandments are found in both the Old & New Testament Scriptures (Ex. 20; Rom. 13:9-10; Jas. 2:10-11). Instead of comparing our lives to others, let's look at the 10 commandments and see how we do.

       1. YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME (Ex. 20:3). Has God always been first in your life? Do you love Him more than your closest earthly relationships? Jesus said our love for God must be preeminent compared to all other relationships (Lk. 14:26). What about it, have you broken this commandment?

       2. YOU SHALL NOT MAKE YOURSELVES ANY IDOL (Ex. 20:4). This involves an idol made with hands or with our minds. Anything that we exalt before God is an idol in our lives. Any false representation of a god of our own making is an idol. Many people's idea of God is that He doesn't mind a lie, or even if we steal as long as its something insignificant. If it is not the God of the Bible it is a graven image of man's own "making!" I'm not judging you - I'm asking, Have you broken this commandment?

       3. YOU SHALL NOT TAKE THE NAME OF THE LORD YOUR GOD IN VAIN. Have you ever used the Name of Jesus Christ as a "4-letter word"? Hitler's name wasn't despised enough to be used as a curse word. Are you guilty or innocent of breaking this command?

       4. REMEMBER THE SABBATH DAY, TO KEEP IT HOLY (Ex. 20:8). Have you always set aside a time, a day, to honor & worship the Lord?

       5. HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER (Ex. 20:12). This is the first of God's 10 commandments that ends with the promise of long life on this earth and days full of blessings (Eph. 6:2-3).

       What about the sins of your youth? Did you always honor your father & mother? Have you forgotten?

       6. YOU SHALL NOT MURDER (Ex. 20:13). Jesus said that ANGER is the real heart of this commandment (Mt. 5:22). When we are angry with another we are saying, "You are my problem. If you were not here I wouldn't have this problem." Jesus says this is murder begun. What about it, who has not been guilty of breaking this commandment?

       7. YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY (Ex. 20:14). Jesus interpreted this commandment to mean that looking upon a woman with the view of lusting after her is the breaking of this command (Mt. 5:27-28). If you've lusted after a woman you've committed adultery.

       8. YOU SHALL NOT STEAL (Ex. 20:15). Have you ever taken something that belonged to someone else? Someone's wife, someone's possessions, a pencil, anything irrespective of its value?

       9. YOU MUST NOT LIE (Ex. 20:16). How many lies does it take to make a liar? Have you always told the truth?

       10. YOU SHALL NOT COVET (Ex. 20:17). "Covet" is the DESIRE to have what belongs to someone else. Your neighbor's house, wife, possessions, anything.

       The only problem with trying to be good enough to go to heaven is the fact that not only have we broken the 10 commandments, there are over 613 commandments in the Old Testament and hundreds in the New Testament. James 2:10 in the New Testament says that whoever keeps the whole law yet messes up on just one point is GUILTY of breaking the law. No one will ever be good enough to go to heaven by keeping God's law; for His law only reveals our sin (Rom. 3:19-20).

       This is why Jesus came! We all need a Saviour! The word "Saviour" has the idea of "one who can rescue you from the penalty of your sin." Jesus rescues people from perishing so that they might have eternal life (Mt. 1:21).

       My friend, to be good enough to go to heaven we must have a righteousness that equals God's (2 Cor. 5:21). The "good news" of the gospel is that not only will Jesus forgive your sins, but He is also offering - freely - His very own righteousness as a gift (See Rom. 5:17). Do you need a new start in life? A relationship with the God of heaven who loves you very much? God is ready to have compassion on you, to fall on your neck and kiss you (Lk. 1 5:20-24). Would you consider turning to Him through Jesus Christ? Accepting Him as your personal Saviour & following Him as your Lord? He loves you very much!

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Tract No. 9 by Don Krow