Max Lucado, a Christian pastor and author, tells the story about how he was invited to the Master's Golf Tournament. He said that he makes no claim to being a good golfer, but he loves to play golf and watch golf. He was thrilled when pro golfer Scott Simpson invited him to attend the Master's Golf Tournament one year. A pass to the Masters is the golfer's holy grail.
So off they went to Augusta National Country Club in Georgia where "golf heritage hangs like moss from the trees." Max said that he "was a kid in a candy store." It wasn't enough to see the course and walk the grounds. Max wanted to see the locker room, where the clubs of Ben Hogan and Paul Azinger are displayed.
But he quickly found out that they wouldn't let him in. A guard stopped him at the locker room entrance. Even though Max showed the guard his pass, the guard just shook his head. Even though Max said that Scott Simpson had given him the pass, that still didn't matter. "Only caddies and players," the guard explained. The guard could tell that Max wasn't a player. And caddies are required to wear white coveralls, so the guard knew he wasn't a caddie either. So, Max left, knowing he had made it all the way to the door but was denied entrance. Even though Max knew the right person, he wasn't dressed the right way to get in.
God has one requirement for entrance into heaven: that we be clothed in Christ. We need to more than know Christ, we must be dressed, clothed in His righteousness. When someone prays, "Take away my sinful rags and clothe me in your grace," Jesus, in an act visible only to the eyes of heaven, removes our stained clothes and replaces them with His robe of righteousness.
Unlike Max Lucado being turned away from the door of the locker room because he was not a player and not dressed like a caddie, we have no fear of being turned away at the door of heaven. We know the right person - Christ - and are dressed the right way - in His righteousness.
That happens because of God's grace, and that gives us hope!