Andy Stanley’s, “How Good is Good Enough?” is a short book that addresses the common misconceptions people have about what it takes to make it into Heaven. The mistaken logic flows like this: “There is a good God who lives in a good place reserved for good people. This God goes by many names and is behind all major religions… therefore, all religions provide a legitimate path to God.” It’s a tragedy that so many people bank their entire eternal future on what really doesn’t make sense.
The book does a great job describing the conscience as something that condemns you and reminds you that you are not perfect. Yet the conscience doesn’t assure you when you’re doing well. That’s where RELIGION takes over. All religions of this world share one common denominator: How you live your life on this side of the grave determines what happens next. The problem is that all these religions disagree as to what you need to do.
The bottom line is that Jesus never taught that good people go to heaven. He illustrated this with the Pharisees who were professional do-gooders. They took doing good to new heights by inventing laws to protect God’s law and yet Jesus said, “Unless your righteousness exceeds theirs you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matt. 5:20) In other words, “As good as the Pharisees were… THEY WERE NOT GOOD ENOUGH!” (p.51)
It’s not about “being good” that gains us access into Heaven. Andy Stanley illustrates this with the story of the thief on the cross in a chapter he entitles, “Bad Guys Finish Last.” The Thief on the Cross was a convicted criminal who was at the end of his life. There was no way he could turn over a new leaf and begin to amass up for himself a bunch of good deeds to make up for bad deeds. Here’s the bottom line: THERE WAS NO WAY FOR THAT THIEF TO BE GOOD ENOUGH and yet what did Jesus say, “Assuredly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
Andy Stanley does a pretty good job describing MERCY as not getting what we deserve and GRACE as getting what we don’t deserve. (p.83) He points out that one of the many functions of the LAW was to help us to realize that NONE OF US ARE GOOD ENOUGH and that God in His grace gave it the LAW so that we would look to Jesus to save us.
The reason good people don’t go to heaven is that there aren’t any good people. There are only sinners. Good people don’t go to Heaven. Forgiven people go to Heaven (p.90) and there’s no other name by which men can be saved than the name of Jesus. (Acts 4:12)
The book is a very basic and easy to understand. I made it through the book in about an hour. It was a good reminder of some of the basics of Christianity and would make a good gift book for someone just starting out in the faith.
I received this book free from Multnomah Books as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”