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When I was growing up, in order to instill a work ethic in me, my dad had several short maxims he repeated many times in my life. He'd tell me, "Son, there's no free lunch." -- In this life, that is so true. He'd also remind me, "Chuck, never forget: there's nothing free in life." -- In society, that also is true. And he said often, "Son, if you want something, you've got to work for it."

Because we must earn what we get in everyday life, it's easy to assume that must also be true in the spiritual realm. But as far as what the Bible teaches--nothing could be further from the truth!

Our popular culture has conditioned us to accept the lie that we can get to heaven by our works or the good life that we live or by doing good deeds.

How many of you have ever watched Tom and Jerry cartoons? Remember whenever Tom was tempted to whack Jerry on the head? A little angel with a halo would fly up to his ear and whisper, "If you do that you won't go to heaven." Another reinforcement by popular culture that heaven is earned by works. It never worked, though--Tom still always whacked Jerry anyway.

I remember the TV show "Touched by an Angel" about an angel going about doing good in people's lives, showing them they should change their lives. It was a good clean show, but you went away from every episode with the impression that the path to heaven was by cleaning up your life, by turning to goodness, by being a better person.

Those are all good things, and they make for a better society and better families. But again, the idea being good to get to heaven or be forgiven is found nowhere in the Bible; Just the opposite, in fact.

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