Many people think they can work their way into heaven. The fact that they hold to this belief seems reasonable when viewed through a secular lens. They might believe this because either they haven’t been exposed to God’s word, or have chosen not to believe it.
If you ask unbelievers today if they think they’re a good person, many of them will say that they think they are. If you then ask them where they’ll go when they die, these self-proclaimed good people will say they’re going to heaven. They rank themselves among the good and worthy because they see themselves as better
than other people they know—definitely better than people like Adolf Hitler. God has to let people like me into heaven, they reason. After all, God loves us and would never send good people to hell, right?
Of course, this thinking is wrong. The prophet Isaiah made it clear that God’s standard for goodness is higher than our own:
But we are all like an unclean thing,This should dispel the lie once and for all that we can work our way into heaven. Good works alone won’t buy us a ticket through the pearly gates. Consider these verses:
And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;
We all fade as a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind,
Have taken us away.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.And the Apostle Paul also wrote:
Know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.Even Jesus himself, who lived a sinless life and healed the sick, when addressed as “good teacher”, claimed that only God is good.
Galatians 2:16 (NIV)
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone”.Of course, Jesus wasn’t saying that He wasn’t good. He was simply urging the person being asked if he believed that He was who he claimed to be, the son of God. So then, if only God is good, how can we consider ourselves to be good? If we believe scripture, then we know we can never measure up to the standard of God’s goodness on our own.
Mark 10:18 (NIV)
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do good works or do our best to live our lives in a way that’s pleasing to God. The Bible tells us we’ll receive a reward in heaven for the good works we do here on earth.
If you’re trying to earn your way into heaven by being good or doing more good things, than bad things. Please realize that it will never work. You must, accept the finished work (John 19:30) of Jesus Christ, to be saved.
Your brother in Christ,