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Christianity

It’s funny… I didn’t think God took bribes….

July 3rd, 2006 by Jeff | Dump Core

By now I’m sure many of you have heard the news: Last week, Warren Buffett, the world’s second richest man, announced he is giving away 85% of his $44 billion fortune to Bill Gates (coincidentally the world’s first richest man) and his charitable organization, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The news outlets, of course, have been all a twitter over this little morsel, which isn’t surprising. Such massive levels of philanthropy are unprecedented and certainly to be applauded. I know CNN Headline News ran several little articles about what could be achieved with just a fraction of Buffett’s donation, such as virtually eliminating certain diseases, cutting world hunger in half, or even providing treatment for every single AIDS victim in the world for an entire year. Impressive indeed.

But then I heard an interesting quote from Buffett, which can be found in this article (among other places): “There is more than one way to get to heaven, but this is a great way.”

Let’s put a few things straight, Warren. Your generosity is certainly noteworthy, and I’ll bet you’ll be remembered for many years to come because of it. And there’s certainly a bunch of wonderful things that be done with your substantial gift, especially in the Gates Foundation’s focus areas of “world health, poverty and increasing access to technology in developing countries.” But last time I checked, God doesn’t take bribes.

Ephesians 2:8-9 clearly states that “God saved you by his special favor when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” (NLT) No matter what the common secular notion is, nobody can buy their way into heaven. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” (NLT) There are no exceptions. Nobody can be “good enough” or do enough to win God’s favor; we have to humble ourselves and turn our lives over to Him.

By the same token, Jesus was pretty clear on the “many roads lead to heaven” line of thinking. Christ himself said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” (NLT) He also states in Matthew 7:13-14 that we must “enter through the narrow gate [that is, through Christ]. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (NIV) Many are deceived by the notion that if we do just enough “good” things in this world to balance out the “bad,” everything will work out in the end. But Christ made it clear: there’s only one doorway into heaven, and He’s the one who holds the keys. $37 billion in charity is commendable, but even that won’t help you pick the locks on the Pearly Gates.

Core dumps have been directed to /dev/null.


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