Actor Andy Griffith died last week, and in the wake of his passing, I’ve seen several cartoons like these, depicting him entering Heaven.
From everything I’ve heard and read, Andy Griffith was a nice guy. A loyal friend. A hard worker. A caring person. All qualities to be admired and emulated.
But is being a “nice guy” enough to get somebody into Heaven?
Answer: No. No, it’s not.
The truth is, the question itself is fundamentally flawed. From God’s perspective, there’s no such thing as a “nice guy.” We’re all born sinners in a state of rebellion against God, and things just get worse from there as far as our “niceness,” in God’s eyes, goes.
as it is written, “ THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;
Many people hope that when they stand before God after death, the good things they’ve done in life will outweigh the bad things they’ve done.
The Bible tells us that even the good things we do are dirty.
For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
And all of us wither like a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
A “filthy garment.” Ick.
My husband owns a home maintenance and lawn care business, and does almost all of the labor himself. Frequently, that heavy physical labor has to be done outside.
In south Louisiana.
A.k.a. “hell’s armpit.”
There are days when my husband comes home from work so sweaty, dirty, and nasty that he strips down before coming in the house and leaves those disgusting clothes on the back porch until they’re ready to be picked up and put straight into the washing machine.
I’m familiar with the concept of a “filthy garment.” And those are the good things we do.
Giving money to charity. Helping at a soup kitchen. Letting somebody else go first in line. Visiting your grandmother in the nursing home.
That’s the stinking pile of rags we’re going to lay before the King. And that dirty laundry isn’t going to buy a single day in Heaven.
Why are those things a stench in God’s nostrils? I mean, they’re all good, noble things to do, right?
Imagine that I went to Tiffany’s and bought you the most exquisite diamond ring they had. But, before I gave it to you, I took it home, went out into the back yard, and rolled it around in some dog poop. Would you reach out for it eagerly when I offered it to you? I doubt it. Nobody wants a poop covered ring, no matter how nice it is.
Fact is, there was only one truly “nice guy” who ever lived. His name was Jesus, and He died on the cross and was resurrected so we could be made clean from all that sin.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.
Being a “nice guy” won’t get you into Heaven. The only way is to confess and turn from your sins, accepting, through faith, that Christ paid the penalty for those sins for you.
We can’t assume that Andy Griffith is in Heaven just because he was a nice guy. But if he repented and placed his faith and Jesus, book it. He’s there. And if you do the same, Heaven will be your eternal home, too.
Whenever they “may bury” you.