My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sin, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
1 John 2:1-2
The only way you can go to heaven is with a “not guilty” verdict. Heaven is a perfect place. In it dwells the perfect God and only perfect people—people who are “not guilty” of any kind of sin.
So, how does our verdict read? A thorough comparison of what God demands of us in his Word with what our hearts and lives look like, makes the answer obvious.
God demands that we always give him first place in our hearts. Every time we value our relationship with hobbies, possessions, or family members more than we value our relationship with him, we are “guilty” of sin before God.
God demands that we be kind, compassionate, patient, and forgiving towards others. With every unkind word we speak, impatient reaction we have, and act of withholding forgiveness from someone who has wronged us, we are “guilty” of sin before God.
God demands that we use our language to honor him and serve others. Every time we lie, let a bad word slip, use our words to tear someone down rather than to build them up, we are “guilty” of sin before God.
Sin permeates our lives through and through, because sin permeates the very nature of our hearts. Every sin we commit makes us “guilty” before God. Is there any hope of going to heaven?
God tells us in his Word: “If anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sin, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”
Through Jesus’ righteous life and the atoning sacrifice for our sin that he made on his cross, he has taken away our sins and given us his righteousness in return. In doing so, he has given us the perfection we need to live in a perfect heaven with our perfect God for all eternity.
Every time we sin, Jesus speaks to his Father in our defense, reminding him of that perfect life he lived in our place and of the sacrifice he made for our sins. And the verdict spoken by our heavenly Father because of Jesus Christ: “Not guilty!”
Lord Jesus, your work has removed our sins and given us your perfection in return. Thank you for speaking to our Father in our defense, that we may enjoy our “not guilty” verdict forever in the perfection of heaven. Amen.