The officer told me of a confession he got in his patrol car as he drove to the station. He had not arrested the guy yet so he had not been read his Miranda rights. The perpetrator simply began to talk and confessed to several crimes. Of course, all patrol cars have video and audio recorders going at all times. His confession was captured on tape.
The criminal claimed it couldn't be used because he was never mirandized. He had either watched too many police television shows or listened to too many street lawyers. He was never arrested and the officer wasn't asking him questions. He was bragging about the crimes he had committed and thought that he could say these with impunity because of his "knowledge" of the law.
He was convicted of each of these crimes. He may have been convicted anyway but his confession certainly helped the case.
The same thing happens when it comes to faith. I heard a line from a country song called, "God, Save Us from Religion." It said something like, "They tell me that I can't go to heaven because I don't keep their rules." The singer is appealing to God to say that he is going to make it anyway. Where does this guy think the rules come from?
Somehow people believe that preachers make us the criteria for entrance into heaven. They see me as a Pharisee who wants to keep people out. They don't know how much I pray for people to come to know Christ nor do they no what I would do to see them come to know Christ. They have listened to the street philosophers who have made all that they are doing right and all that I am doing wrong. They see God as one who is going to take them into His heaven simply because they see themselves as good at the core. They believe God can see that too.
So, if they are good and I say that they must first identify with Christ to receive forgiveness, I must be evil. After all, they are already good without having to change a thing in their lives, right?
Somehow, they believe that their own reasoning in what is right and wrong will cause God to simply let them in. They think that they can demand that God come around to their reasonableness. Certainly He has to listen to the street philosophers too.
But it isn't how good we are or think we are that gets us into heaven. It isn't how reasonable we think we are. Its the blood of Jesus Christ which was accepted as payment for our sins. We have all sinned. The preachers and the prostitutes have this in common. And each is equally offered forgiveness by Jesus.
There is no other way.
And this isn't my rule.