Am I qualified for heaven? Am I a good enough person to be given a sweet afterlife by the Lord? I do not think enough people ask these questions. And the ones who do often do not ask them with anything like a biblical answer.
But look at the 5 verses of Psalm 15. Let it say something about our qualification for heaven.
1 O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?
Who shall dwell on your holy hill?
2 He who walks blamelessly and does what is right
and speaks truth in his heart;
3 who does not slander with his tongue
and does no evil to his neighbor,
nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
4 in whose eyes a vile person is despised,
but who honors those who fear the Lord;
who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
5 who does not put out his money at interest
and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.
I think it is obvious that this is not an exhaustive measure of whether or not a person should go to heaven. But look at the qualities. If a person can ascend the holy hill of God, what must they be?
- Walking blamelessly (v2)
- Speaking truth (v2)
- Never slandering or speaking evil of friend or neighbor (v3)
- Despising evil (v4)
- Fearing the Lord (v4)
- Keeping promises, even those that hurt (v4)
- Never greedy (v5)
While many of us might look at that list and, in general, say that we do not fail in these categories all the time, we also should recognize that we have all failed in these categories. It may be the greed and harsh speaking that has gotten you in the past. It may be the dishonesty that has been your point of failure. Or, in the end, it may simply be the opening salvo, walking blamelessly. None of us has been fully blameless for all of our lives.
But recall that the psalmist was asking who can dwell on God’s mountain. Who can go to heaven? We need to be perfect to qualify. And none of us qualifies.
This is part of the beauty of the gospel. Not only do we understand that Jesus died to pay the price for the wrong we have done, but we also understand that Jesus willingly imputes to us, counts to our accounts, his perfect life. You and I do not qualify, but Jesus does. And the Lord in Christ is willing to count us as having lived the perfection of Jesus.
Colossians 1:11-14 – 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
2 Corinthians 5:21 – For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
We are not qualified. But as Colossians 1:12 reminds us, God, because of the work of Christ, qualifies for heaven those who come to Jesus in faith. This is marvelous. This is beyond our ability. Yet it is a free and gracious gift from God.