DEAR REV. GRAHAM: I try to be unselfish and treat people the same way I'd like them to treat me. What else does God want me to do? I had a cancer scare several years ago, and it's made me think about heaven and whether or not I'll go there when I die. —K.O.
Dear K.O.: What I say may shock you, but the truth is that no matter how good we are, we'll never be good enough to go to heaven.
Why is this? The reason is because God is absolutely pure and holy, and even one sin — just one — would be enough to keep you away from His presence. God doesn't take our good deeds and bad deeds and weigh them against each other; if He did, He'd be letting us into heaven with our sins. But God's standard is nothing less than perfection, and no matter how good we are, we still have our sins clinging to us. The Bible says, "Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong" (Habakkuk 1:13).
Let me illustrate it this way. Suppose you had a barrel of absolutely pure water; it had been filtered and distilled until no impurities remained. If someone asked you to drink it, you wouldn't hesitate. But then suppose someone put a drop of raw sewage in it. Would you drink it? No, of course not. The same is true with sin; only one is enough to keep us out of heaven.
But God loves us, and He has provided another way! That way is Jesus Christ. He was without sin (because He was God in human flesh) —but on the cross all our sins were transferred to Him, and He took the judgment we deserve. Don't trust yourself any longer, but turn to Jesus and trust Him alone for your salvation.
It's the most important decision you will ever make.