A: You and I will never be perfect in this life; as long as we live on this earth we'll still be sinners, and our ability to commit sin will always be with us. The Bible warns, "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8).
I don't doubt your friend's sincerity; he may well be a good person, especially when compared with people who aren't so good. But God isn't only concerned with our outward actions. God is also concerned about what goes on inside of us — with our motives and our inner thoughts. Are we ever jealous of others? Do we ever covet something for ourselves? Are we ever tempted to say something that's hurtful or not quite true? Do we love others the way Jesus does?
Only in heaven will we be perfect and without sin, because only in heaven will we become like Christ. The Bible says, "We know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2). That should be a great encouragement to us, because it reminds us that someday our burden of sin will be destroyed.
Does this mean we shouldn't seek to become more like Christ? No, of course not. At the beginning of each day, ask God to help you have the attitude and character of Christ in all you do and think and say. Like the Apostle Paul, ask God every day to help you "press on toward the goal ... heavenward in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:14).
Q: I've never thought about death very much, but a few months ago I was diagnosed with cancer, and while the treatment seems to be going well, I've wonder sometimes if I'm going to make it. I'm afraid to die. How can I get over this fear? — K.G.
A: My answer may shock you, but I'm thankful you're fearful over the thought of dying, because if you weren't, you'd be totally unprepared for the greatest challenge you'll ever face — the challenge of standing before God.
You see, you and I weren't meant for this world alone. We may think this world is all that matters; we even may go through life (as you've done) without ever thinking about what happens when we die. But that doesn't change the fact that this life is not all, but that we'll live on in eternity once this present life is over — either with God in heaven, or in that place of utter loneliness and despair the Bible calls hell.
Only one thing will keep us out of heaven, and that is our sin. And because we're all sinners, we have no reason to expect anything but God's judgment and condemnation. But God still loves us and has provided a way for us to be cleansed of our sins. That way is Jesus Christ, who took upon Himself the judgment we deserve by dying in our place. All we must do is turn to Him in repentance and faith, and trust Him alone for our salvation.
I'm thankful your treatment seems to be working. But no matter what the future holds, ask Christ to come into your life today. Then God will take away your fears, because "there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).
Send your queries to “My Answer,” c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit www.billygraham.org.