"I'm not going back" is a refrain at our house, and we have reasons...we usually make up a number (reason #848) but I just lost count.
And I'm not going back.
My daddy died last week and I know that he's with Jesus. I heard another refrain: If you want to see Jesus, you need to be holy.
Here's the thing - if you're holy enough to get yourself into heaven - raise your hand.
I'm not holy enough - far, far from it. To paraphrase Mark Driscoll - this kind of teaching leads to either pride or despair. Pride (I got this) or despair (I can't do this.)
When Dad got to heaven, I know that he lived his life in faith in Christ. He never pointed at his works; he pointed to Jesus and the cross.
For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. (Romans 3:28 ESV)
What is "law?" Law (simple explanation) is God's character codified. In the law, we learn God's character, and His standard for holiness. God is perfect and His law is perfect.
We are not and we cannot be, this side of the grave.
Since we are not perfect, how do we see Jesus? How are we justified?
We are justified by faith, and not by works.
Yes, sanctification is a thing and for a person who is justified by faith, that faith will be evidenced by sanctification.
I asked a Sunday School student - do you do your chores because you are part of your family? Or do you do your chores in order to become part of your family?
Do we obey the law because we belong to Christ? Or do we obey the law in order to belong to Christ?
The difference is worth an eternity.