With that statement made in a recent interview with the New York Times, Mr. Bloomberg put into words the false delusion that has duped millions and given them a false hope, namely that a person can be good enough to ‘earn’ his place in heaven. Before I comment further, here is what the ex-mayor of New York said, and his reason for saying it as reported in the Times. (And remember, this is from a man who is 72 years old with eternity staring him straight in the face!)
“… he has little doubt about what would await him at a Judgment Day. Pointing to his work on gun safety, obesity and smoking cessation, he said with a grin: “I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”
Now, I am sure that some people might smile at, or even admire Mr. Bloomberg’s bravado, but I can’t. As a matter of fact, I fear for the man and others like him who think that by doing a great deal of good, they can earn their place in heaven. Mr. Bloomberg says it is because he plans to spend 50 million dollars to establish an organization to counter the NRA, as well as his banning of large-size soft drinks and other health-related programs. (To be truthful, some of my American friends might think that Mr. Bloomberg’s anti-gun stance, might be guarantee he will never see heaven, but that is for another article!).
So let’s consider this man’s statement in the light of what God has to say, and see if he has any right to be assured of a place in heaven when he dies.
First, he isn’t even certain about God’s existence. He says, “I am telling if there is a God…” One might ask how a person can be confident in going to heaven who is not even sure if there is a God? The Bible says, “the fool hath said in his heart, there is no God” (Ps 14:1).
It is the height of folly to deny the existence of God against the mass of evidence, and it is even more foolish to hold to the position of doubting God’s existence, but having assurance of living in His heaven. Such is not the conclusion of a well-reasoned argument, but the passionate ramblings of self-contradictory ramblings. The writer to the Hebrews states that the very first step in coming to God is that you “must believe that He is” (Heb 11:6).
Second, Mr. Bloomberg says, “I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in.” Wrong again. In Hebrews 9:27 we are clearly told, “it is appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgment”. Prior to heading straight in to heaven, all of us will find there is the matter of facing God in the judgment, where “every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rom 14:12).
Dear Friend, are you ready for that great day in which you will stand before God? Before you can enter heaven, you must appear before God. There is no escaping that solemn meeting, for “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” (2 Cor 5:10). Only those who have believed on Christ as the full, final and finished Sacrifice for every sinner who puts their trust in Him and repented of those sins will find admission to heaven.
And that brings us to consider the third statement of Mr. Bloomberg, namely, “I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”
Right here is the very essence that differentiates true, biblical Christianity from all other religions and all forms of false Christianity. If there is one thing the Bible makes clear, it is that no man can ‘earn’ a title to heaven. We are saved by grace or not saved at all. It can never be half-grace and half-works, or any other ratio. It cannot be 99% grace and 1% works. It must be all of grace or not at all. In Romans 11, Paul speaks of an “election of grace”. And then he states that grace and works can never be mixed together. He says, “if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” (v.6)
Again, when Paul writes to Timothy, he states, that God “hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” (2 Tim 1:9)
Finally, the apostle Paul puts it in the plainest of terms in Eph 2:8,9 when he says in that well-known passage, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Do you see why it cannot be of works? Because if the slightest aspect of our salvation and entrance into heaven is dependent upon our works – our earning the right to be there – it would be a matter of boasting. The sinner would get the glory and not the Saviour, and God will never allow a mere sinner to share in the glory of the work of salvation accomplished by His Son. We would be like Mr. Bloomberg boasting about his spending of 50 million dollars for gun control, and then thinking that is so good, that we can just “head straight in” to heaven. There is no man or woman who is good enough to be in heaven. In fact, the only people of the human race that are in heaven now, or ever will be, are those who, while on earth, saw themselves as sinners utterly unworthy of the least of God’s mercies, and came to God on His terms – through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ who paid the full price of their sins and offers salvation on terms of grace.
To the Michael Bloombergs of this world I say, I can never earn the right to go to heaven. But praise God, His Son earned that right on my behalf!
(Note: This article originally published April 18, 2014)