I remember hearing the story about a little girl who had bounced around from home to home as a foster child for a number of years. As she was fostered, a number of would-be parents would consider adopting her, but right when they were about to begin the process, her behavior would get worse. The situation would get so bad that they would have to send her back into the foster care system.
Fast forward, a young family fostered this girl and discussed adopting her. But once again, her behavior kept getting worse and worse. As a result, they decided to prepare a contract. They sat down with her, had her sign it, and they signed it too. There was a statement within the contract that said no matter how bad her behavior gets, they wouldn’t put her back in the system. There will be discipline, boundaries, and issues to resolve, but she would never be kicked out of their family. After that, her behavior improved because she knew she wasn’t there because of her good behavior but because she was a loved family member.
Friend, this is a good way to think about your faith. Good behavior doesn’t get you into the Kingdom of God. You have already been adopted by God. The contract is in place because of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. So you don’t say, “You have to be good to get into Heaven,” you say, “I know my home is in Heaven.” You can now build a life in response to God’s love for you!