39 Honor Oak Road
Thought for the month
It is election season (again!) and one of the issues being debated is housing. Many people are concerned about being able to pay for housing, and about where they will live, both now and in the future. Indeed, most politicians seem to agree that there is a serious problem with a lacking of affordable housing - especially here in London - even if they can't agree how to solve the problem!
Where we will live this year and next year and in 10 years is of course a very important matter. Yet where you will be in 100 years or even 1000 years' time is even more important. Where will we live after we die?
Many people believe that we can afford a place in heaven if only we do enough good things and not too many bad ones. A man like this once came to Jesus:
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. 'Good teacher,' he asked. 'what must I do to inherit eternal life?' 'Why do you call me good?' Jesus answered. 'No one is good - except God alone.' (Mark 10:17-18 NIV)
This man came to Jesus wanting to know what actions he had to do to have eternal life. Jesus replies by challenging the man about his standard of goodness: he tells him that only God is good. If we judge ourselves against that standard, it is clear that we can never be good enough for God.
The conversation between this man and Jesus continues, and Jesus asks him about whether he had kept the commandments - do not murder, do not steal, and so on. The man says he has. But then Jesus challenges the man about what he values most: God, or his money. The man leaves sad.
We can never get to live with God forever by doing good works. We can never be good enough. With all our good works we could never afford a place in heaven; the price is too high - it is unaffordable for everyone, even the best among us.
So how can we receive eternal life? How can we find a good place to live for eternity?
Just before he dies, Jesus says this to his disciples:
In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. (John 14:2 NIV)
We could never afford a place with God on the basis of our goodness - it would never be enough. But God has prepared a place with him for all of his people. Those who trust in Jesus will receive a place alongside Jesus in God's house - a place paid for and secured for eternity by Jesus' death on the cross.
We understandably get concerned about where we will live in the future, but it is where we will live for eternity that should concern us most. A place with God is completely unaffordable for us on our own - we could never be good enough. Instead we need to put our lives in the hands of Jesus - the one who secures the very best place for eternity for all those who trust in him.