Here is your weekly newsletter created for listeners and friends of Paul Heil's "The Gospel Greats" syndicated radio program.
The Gospel Greats Weekly Newsletter
Published Tuesday, February24, 2015

In This Edition...

Paul's Epistle...
"Good Enough?"

Here's today's quick quiz. Which of the following two statements, if either, is true?

So which of those statements, if either, is true?

Actually, although it isn't the way most folks look at it, both of those statements are true.

Those who are puzzled by how the first statement can be true are those who believe God will grant them entrance into heaven on the basis of their "goodness." They're good to their spouses, they're good to their children, they're good to their friends and coworkers, they wouldn't hurt a flea, they give liberally to charities for the common good, they give generously to their church. (Yes, there are a lot of good but unsaved people in church!) They're simply "good" people.

But they're headed for hell.

You most likely have heard someone respond to the question something like this: "Am I going to heaven? Oh, I hope so. Why? Well, I've been a good person. I've lived a good life. I've been good to others. I think when God weighs all my good deeds against my bad, He'll have to conclude that the good outweighs the bad. That's why I think He'll let me into heaven."

Sorry. If that's all there is, this person is headed for hell.

Why? Well here's how God look upon such "goodness?" Isaiah 64:6 reminds us, "all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags..." Our "goodness," on its own, cannot possibly rise to God's standards of perfection.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusion about this matter. A 2003 poll by the Barna research organization found that among Americans describing themselves as Christians, 50 percent – fully half of those responding – believed that a person can attain salvation based on good works.

Among the population at large, Barna found that 64 percent of Americans believe they will go to heaven when they die. But 15 percent of these felt they were heaven bound because they had tried to obey the ten commandments. Another 15 percent believed this simply because "they are basically a good person."

Just last weekend, our pastor recounted stories of encounters with two elderly women who, on their death beds, told him they "hoped they had done enough" to get into heaven.

Simply put, you cannot be good enough for God to let you into heaven on your own merits. No one can. I repeat – no one can be good enough on his or her own merits to attain heaven. Look at all the other religions of the world, and, as far as I can tell, you will find that they all – other than Christianity – will tell you that some form of "works" will get you into heaven.

Works always fall short among a sinful race. That's why God provided a Savior. Remember, if good works would have been good enough to get to heaven, it would have been unnecessary for God to send His Son to die for our sins. Saying you're "good enough" rejects the supreme sacrifice offered by Christ.

Sin separates man from God (Isaiah 59:2). It has since Eden. It always will.

But then how can anyone get to heaven? How can we say that heaven will be full of sinners? After all, the Bible tells us all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23.) Quite often, the world draws this distinction: you're either a "sinner" or a "non-sinner." They believe sinners are the "bad" people. Non-sinners are "good" people, like those who go to church, they say. But it's a false distinction. In absolute fact, there are no non-sinners, as that verse from Romans indicates.

So, are you a sinner? Take this simple test. Circle the correct answer from one of the following: (a) yes; (b) yes, (c) yes, or... (d) yes. Sorry, there are no other possible answers. Pencils down. The answer is self-evident.

So if everyone is a sinner, how will anyone get to heaven? How will anyone be allowed into such a perfect place?

Well, it won't be by just living a good life. If everyone is a sinner, and if heaven is going to have anyone in it at all, then somehow everyone who goes there must be a sinner. But the difference — and it's an absolutely crucial one — is that those who will inhabit heaven are sinners who have accepted Christ's substitutionary death as the payment for the penalty that God would otherwise need to impose for sin. They have asked, in faith, to be forgiven — forgiveness which is freely granted by God in response to honest repentance. They have become sinners saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8). And once God accepts the price for sin that Christ paid through His death, he sees no sin in you. In common theological terms, your sins have been "covered by the blood of Christ." And God says, "their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more." (Heb. 10:17.)

And that's what it takes to get to heaven.

Here's the Biblical key: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9. See also Acts 15:11 and 2 Timothy 1:9.) And this from Titus 3:4-7: "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."

Christians know it's not their own "goodness" that saves them — it is God's mercy, God's grace. But Christians have been called to do good works, too, and such good works are among the "fruits of the spirit." (See Eph. 2:10, Heb. 10:24 and Col. 1:10.) We do good works because God is good, and we want to be like Him. (See Matt. 19:17.)

So, Christians have the best of both! Christians are glad for both the goodness they can show as evidence of their salvation and for God's mercy which, through His grace, means heaven is our eternal destination. That's why the Psalmist can rejoice with these words, closing the popular 23rd Psalm: "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever."

- Paul

Note: The above column first appeared in this newsletter February 15, 2005.

Comments on this?
(To ensure that we get your comments, please use that address and do not simply hit "reply" on your email program.)

A printable version of the Epistle above can be found in our archives:

Coming on the broadcast the weekend of February 28th & 29th, 2015:

Countdown!   This will be our official Singing News Top 20 Countdown Edition for the month, based on the top-tunes chart appearing in their March issue.

Featured Artists:   Our Featured Artists will be the Williamsons with songs from their current "Tell Somebody" CD. Included will be some songs that group member Lisa Williamson wrote. If you're not familiar with the Williamsons, you will be very pleasantly surprised at their sound. You will also appreciate their heart for ministry. Included, of course, will be their current chart song, "It Was The Word."

Great Annual Giveaway!   This will be Week #1 of our 2015 Great Annual Giveaway. Listen to learn how you could win a Gospel music cruise for two — the 2016 Singing At Sea Cruise — or one of hundreds of other great prizes. It's easy to enter, but you must listen to hear the "key phrase" mentioned on the air to validate your entry.

Headline Update:   This segment this week will be devoted to remembering one of the top songwriters of the past six-plus decades — Mosie Lister.

Who can YOU invite to listen this weekend?

From the broadcast the weekend of February 21st & 22nd, 2015:

Our Featured Artists on this program were the brand new Jim Brady Trio. They are, of course, Jim Brady (who sang with the Booth Brothers for more than a dozen years), his wife, Melissa, and long-time pianist and sometimes vocalist Tim Parton. If you heard their songs on this program, especially the first one, perhaps you noticed that their sound is similar to the Talleys' blend, especially in their early years. And Jim told me that was actually a goal of theirs, at least as a starting point as they develop their sound further. Jim and Melissa, of course, sang together years ago as part of the Shulers, so this is nothing completely new for them. But, as you heard Melissa explain on the program, those dozen-plus years of her being off the road now give her an entirely new perspective on how much she wants to be involved in this, especially from the ministry perspective.

This new trio definitely has everything they need to succeed, the Lord has already been blessing their efforts abundantly. If they come to your area, please be sure to get out to hear them sing and minister. For more info, check out their new website:

The Jim Brady Trio's CD featured on this program, "A New Chapter," is available from our mailorder service, Springside. Just call 1-800-38-MUSIC to order. Call by Friday, February 27, 2015, ask for the "Featured Artist Discount," and get 20 percent off this item. You can order easily from our webstore by using this link to go directly to this item. Note, too, that our "Featured Artist Discount" applies to any other currently in-stock recordings by this artist. While ordering online, when you get to the "Checkout" page, find the "Special Instructions" lines near the bottom, type in "Featured Artist Discount - 20 percent" to get the discount. Note that the discounted price will not be reflected online or in your first confirmation e-mail, but it will be applied here when the order is processed and before it is charged or shipped.

This was one of our occasional All Listener Favorites editions. Thanks to everyone who called recently with song introductions for use on the air. If you called and your introduction didn't make it on this program, keep listening! We'll be using more of them each week over the next few months. I was especially happy that this time we received Listener Favorite introductions from Belfast, Northern Ireland, and from New Zealand. A special thanks to these "long distance" listeners.

For the song list from this broadcast, click on the link below.   (PDF viewer required.)

Hear last weekend's Headline Update report about your favorite artists by clicking on this link:

New items available this week from
  • Skyline Boys - Favorite Hymns & Classics Vol. 3  (CD)

Click here to view those Southern Gospel music items in this week's Springside Music Update newsletter — including 20 percent discounts on this week's new releases. Or get the Springside Music Update newsletter by email each Monday. Details can be found here. Or call 800 38 MUSIC during weekday office hours to ask about this week's specials or to order. Your purchases from Springside help support The Gospel Greats program.

Shelia Shares....
"Thankfully Doing"

The story in 2 Chronicles 1 is of Solomon going to worship God at the Tabernacle of the Congregation. God appears to him and tells him to ask for whatever he wants. Solomon asks for wisdom and knowledge so he can do his job as King and rule and judge God's people. God agrees to give him wisdom and knowledge, but also says He will give him wealth, riches and honor more than any king before or after him.

Verse 13 of the chapter says that Solomon leaves the place of worship and goes back to Jerusalem to rule.

Even though Solomon has gotten these wonderful gifts from God, he goes back to the work he has been given. Not only does he continue in his work, but he determines in his heart to build a house for the Lord and sets to work on those plans.

When God has blessed us, we can respond with a thankful heart doing what He has asked us to do with an attitude of thankfulness to the Lord. When we recognize what God has done, how can we help but respond?

- Shelia

Comments on this?
(To ensure that we get your comments, please use that address and do not simply hit "reply" on your email program.)

A printable version of Shelia's column above can be found in our archives:

On the Lighter Side...

Ancient History

Even though she's been teaching English for 25 years, my mother never felt her age was an issue, until the day she helped a student with a report on the Vietnam War. Mom recognized the name of a war correspondent mentioned in the textbook and blurted, "I used to go out with him!" Peering up from his work, another wide-eyed student asked, "You dated someone from our history book!?"

X-Ray Vision

As an X-ray tech walked down the aisle to exchange marriage vows with a former patient, a co-worker nurse whispered to a doctor seated next to her, "I wonder what she saw in him?"

Air Traffic Control

Tower:  "Eastern 702, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on 124.7."
Eastern 702:  "Tower, Eastern 702 switching to Departure. By the way, as we lifted off we saw some kind of dead animal on the far end of the runway."
Tower:  "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on 124.7. Did you copy the report from Eastern?"
Continental 635:  "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff ... and yes, we copied Eastern and we've already notified our caterers."


Soon after her brother was born, little Sachi began to ask her parents to leave her alone with the new baby. They worried that, like most four-year-olds, she might feel jealous, so they said no. But she showed no signs of jealousy. She treated the baby with kindness and her pleas to be left alone with him became more urgent. They decided to allow it. Elated she went into the baby's room and shut the door, but it opened a crack, enough for her curious parents to peek in and listen. They saw little Sachi walk quietly up to her baby brother, put her face close to his and say quietly, "Baby, tell me what God feels like. I'm starting to forget."


How come all the scientific instruments seeking intelligent life in the universe are pointed away from Earth?

Are You Ready?
1 Thess. 5:2-10; Matt. 24:44; Luke 21:34,36
Free Gift
Pray for the President!
Until next Week...Keep Looking Up!

The Gospel Greats Weekly Newsletter subscription maintenance information
  • We trust that you enjoy these weekly Tuesday morning newsletter that you requested.  But if you need to make a change, here's how to do it.  To REMOVE your name from the list or to CHANGE your address, simply send us an e-mail and tell us what you want done (telling us why would be helpful).  We attempt to make all requested changes prior to the next mailing, but, depending on when requests are received, there may be a delay of up to a week.  If unsubscribing, please tell us (as a courtesy) what we could do to improve the newsletter.
    If you are unsubscribing simply because you no longer hear the program locally, please first check the "Station Finder" on our website to be sure the program hasn't simply moved to another station in your area.  Also please remember that the program is available online.  And you are most welcome to continue reading the newsletter's devotional columns, which usually are not really directly related to the program. 
  • You may also request any of the above changes in writing by postal mail to our physical postal address: The Gospel Greats program, PO Box 1372, Lancaster PA 17608-1372.