I was proud of myself. I knew the answer.
"Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved."--Acts 16:31
"So, I just have to believe in God, I'm saved?"
Hmmm...I knew that wasn't quite right. I went back to the drawing board.
I know that, to get to heaven, God must forgive my sins. That's the business He transacted on Calvary--forgiveness for all men--all.
I also know that not everyone goes to heaven.
Jesus arranged forgiveness, but what happens after that?
How DO we get to heaven?
I thought of the parables Jesus used to explain heaven: the ten virgins, the farmer sowing seed, the prodigal son. Then I thought of that woman--the one who embarrassed the Pharisees at their own dinner table by crawling on the floor anointing Jesus' feet and crying. She was going to heaven. What was special about her?
Her many sins have been forgiven, for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little, loves little.--Luke 7:47
This woman knew without doubt that she was a monster sinner, so she clung to her Savior. She clung, and cried, and touched Him for the sheer relief and wonder of it. She loved Him with abandon because, of everyone there, she alone understood.
Then I understood, too.
We are all that woman.
We all bear the same dreadful weight of sin. But some know it, and some don't. Those who know it go to heaven.
We are saved when we know we need to be, really, achingly, desperately. We are saved when we know that no one but Christ can usher us into heaven, that our own good deeds are dirty rags, that we are lost, literally lost, without Him.
Some became fools through their rebellious ways and suffered affliction because of their iniquities. Then they cried to the Lord and He saved them from their trouble. Give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men.--Psalm 107: 17, 19, 21
Christ lifted the weight of sin from all men on Calvary, but He does it individually for each man only when our eyes at last meet His and we see.