I am a basketball fan, so this time of year, during what is known as “March Madness,” I get excited.
During the regular season, teams play with the dream of winning enough games so that they will be chosen for the year-end tournament known as the “big dance.” If a team wins its conference tournament, they are guaranteed to play in the “big dance.” There is a selection committee that meets at the end of the season and selects other “at-large” teams to make a total of 68 tournament teams. In order to be chosen, a team has to impress this committee by winning enough games and/or having wins against good opponents.
What happens is that there are teams that are elated and there are teams that are disappointed. Some teams come so close but just not quite close enough; they didn’t do enough to earn their way in.
Getting to heaven is not like this — you can’t earn your way in. The Bible tells us that we are saved and have the promise of heaven based upon our faith in Christ, not works. In other words, when we stand before God after we die, we can have assurance that we will get in. We don’t have to wait with nervousness wondering if we have done enough to earn our way in. Ephesians 2 sums it up: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, not by works, so that no one can boast.”
This is what makes Christianity unique in that we are saved by faith alone.