The above link will take you to a news report which attributes the above quote to former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who said, “I have earned my place in heaven,” while talking about his gun-control initiatives. Here’s the full quote from the article:
“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,” he told reporter Jeremy Peters. “I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”
Regardless of your stance on gun-control legislation, what must be even more important is one’s adherence to biblical truth. Here’s the truth, given in love and with respect to Mr. Bloomberg and us all:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
— Ephesians 2:8-10
Grace by definition is God giving us a gift which we do not deserve. None of us, regardless of whatever good we may do here on earth, deserves eternity in heaven with Jesus for one simple reason: we all have sinned and thus deserve the eternal death of hell (Rom. 3:23; 6:23; Rev. 21:8). That’s why there will be no “interview” to see if we are worthy of heaven, Mr. Bloomberg. None of us would make a good impression in that interview…not without the grace of God.
Furthermore, the passage says that we are saved by grace “through faith.” In the above quote, Mr. Bloomberg implies his doubt in the existence of God and thus shows that God is not pleased with him because the Bible says that God is pleased by a faith in his existence (Heb. 11:6). Accountable people who do not even believe in God and his Son Jesus will not go to heaven (Acts 17:30-31; John 8:24).
Not only that, but the Lord further defines legitimate, living faith as one that proves itself by works of obedience (James 2:14-26). This does not mean that our obedient works “earn” us heaven for the same reason as stated above: there is still our sin problem, which means that we need God’s grace.
Nonetheless, the Ephesians passage tells us very specifically why we are God’s “workmanship.” We were created in Christ Jesus (cf. John 1:1-2, 14) “for good works.” These works “God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” We exist for one reason: to obey God (Eccl. 12:13). Our obedience proves that we really do believe in him.
Specifically, our obedience to the commands of Scripture…for it is the Bible which is inspired by God and equips us for every good work in his sight (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Mr. Bloomberg implies that he is going to heaven because of his gun control initiatives. The truth of the matter is that even if Mr. Bloomberg acknowledged the grace of God and did not question his Creator’s very existence, his faith would be proven to be alive by his works of obedience to the commands of God as revealed in Scripture.
Last time I looked, the Bible had nothing to say about gun control. But here’s what it does say about people who assume that God is pleased with something just because they themselves are pleased with it:
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
— 2 Timothy 4:3-4
This article is not meant to be a Michael Bloomberg rip-a-thon. Rather, I point these things out as an illustration to us all, myself included, to not think more highly of ourselves than we ought (Rom. 12:3) by making the extreme presumption that we can ever “earn” eternity in heaven. Rather, let us be thankful for the grace of God which saves us through our faith, and let’s examine ourselves (2 Cor. 13:5) to make sure that our faith is acceptable to him because of our obedience to his will as revealed in the New Testament.