"Mr. Bloomberg was introspective as he spoke, and seemed both restless and wistful. When he sat down for the interview, it was a few days before his 50th college reunion. His mortality has started dawning on him, at 72. And he admitted he was a bit taken aback by how many of his former classmates had been appearing in the “in memoriam” pages of his school newsletter.
But if he senses that he may not have as much time left as he would like, he has little doubt about what would await him at a Judgment Day. Pointing to his work on gun safety, obesity and smoking cessation, he said with a grin: 'I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.'"Bloomberg may be in the top 1/10 of 1% when it comes to income, but he's definitely within a larger percentage of people who believe heaven is earned by one's good deeds in this life. We evangelicals who focus so much on the death of Jesus Christ as 'payment for sins' aren't giving any answers to the questions people like Mr. Bloomberg are asking.
The Bloomberg Effect' happens when a great deal of good is done by people in this life, causing them to think, "For heaven's sake, I've done so much good in this life, there's no way God would keep me out of heaven." As Bloomberg says, "It's not even close!" I am reminded of Shakespeare's "Thou protest too much."
It would seem to me if God represents perfect goodness (and His name God is short for 'GOOD'), then perfect goodness becomes the standard. I only know one Man who was perfectly good. It is the life of this Man, His death and particularly His resurrection that gives us the answer to the question: "How much is good enough for God?"
A fellow named Paul from Tarsus was a pretty good guy. He was at the top of his class, a Pharisee of the Pharisees (that's like saying, 'the elite of the elite'), a person 'zealous for good works' (i.e. "the Law'), and considered by the people in his day a very, very good man according to the cultural standards of the Jews. Yet, Paul came to discover that what makes a person acceptable to God is the righteousness of another. Paul came to the place in his life where He trusted the life of Jesus Christ.
Jesus alone was the Perfect Man. Jesus lived the life all of us should have lived, He died the death all of us deserve to die, and He rose from the grave with this promise: Trust me and I'll freely give you the blessings of my righteousness (God's favor) and I'll freely take from you the consequences of your sins (God's judgment).
Here's how Paul puts it:
"My faith is in Jesus Christ and I no longer trust any good works of my own derived from my obedience to the Law, for I have a righteousness which is found through faith in Christ, the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I have this through knowing Him and the power of His resurrection..." (Philippians 3:9,10).As we focus on the resurrection this season, it would do us all well to remember that the death of Jesus Christ is not what makes Easter remarkable. It's His resurrection. Everyone dies. Jesus is the first-fruits of all who will be raised to life. If death is the 'wages of sin' (and it is), then life is the effect of resurrection (and it is). To trust in the resurrected Jesus means that God grants you the full effects of Jesus' perfect obedience throughout His life. Only perfect and complete obedience to God brings perfect and complete favor from God. Jesus fulfilled it; we faith it.
I've done some good things in this life. There is, however, no need to recount them near my death. I have a peace which passes all understanding because I know that God's unconditional grace to me, His everlasting favor for me, and His immeasurable mercy toward me are all based on the perfect goodness and righteousness of His Son, whom He gave for me. The perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ, and all the favor of God because of it, becomes mine through my faith in Jesus life, death and particularly, His resurrection!
That's the meaning of Easter.