FAQ'S ABOUT RELIGION
DOES "BEING GOOD" GET US TO HEAVEN?
This question presupposes that there are good people, maybe that even all people are good. This is also known as “salvation by works” and appeals to our pride and desire to be in control (the Captain of our ship!) and also appeals to that desire far more than the idea of being saved by faith (trust in God) alone. Most everyone has an inherent sense of justice. Even the most ardent Atheist believes in some type of justice and a sense of right and wrong, even if they have no moral basis for making such judgments. That sense of justice demands that if we are to be saved, our “good works” must outweigh our “bad works.” Therefore, if mere humans were to invent a religion it would involve some type of salvation by works. God’s existence has been proven already (see the question “Does God Exist?”) and also proven is the authority of the Bible (see the question “Is the Bible Authentic?”). So, now let’s go to scripture to find out if works are a viable path to Heaven. The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans in chapter 3 verse 10…”There is no one righteous, not even one.” In verse 12, he says…”All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” And finally in verse 23, he says…”for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (New International Version, NIV). On one occasion, a rich young man ran up to Jesus and fell on his knees and said…”Good teacher, he asked, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.” (Mark 3:17-18 NIV, emphasis added). Must we then conclude that NO ONE can enter Heaven but God? THERE IS HOPE because Jesus said to His disciples a short time later when they asked “Who then can be saved?” Jesus answered in verse 27 “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Let’s study this question further to learn about God’s mercy, His grace and His plan for us.
Validity of the question: If we want to go to heaven, on our own, by being a good person, it would require us to obey the letter of God’s Law which NO ONE can do. Obeying 99.9% is not good enough. Why? Because God is a righteous God and cannot abide (tolerate) any sin. Habakkuk chapter one verse thirteen says…”Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.” Therefore, God’s requirement is PERFECTION. Jesus said in His famous Sermon on the Mount…”Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”(Matthew 5:48). There is NO SIN in Heaven and God WILL NOT let any sin into Heaven! If we were really truthful to ourselves, we would admit we don’t actually think or believe that we have to be perfect. We think…”I’m not such a bad person and if God is loving and forgiving, He will let me slip in, maybe under the door”—WRONG! There is only one person that is perfect and that is Jesus Christ, the Son of God (one of the “Trinity,” that is, God manifested as three in one or one in three, i.e., God-Creator, God-Son Redeemer and God-Holy Spirit). So, perhaps a more valid question would be…Can anyone besides God reside in Heaven? YES, thank God who is a loving, merciful god of Grace (giver of an unmerited gift).
What is God’s Plan to make the IMPOSSIBLE possible? God devised a way that we can be forgiven of our sins by Himself, as Jesus Christ, taking on OUR sins and paying the FULL price by dying on the cross. Can you believe it? EVERYBODIES sins, past, present and future! All we have to do is receive the gift by faith (trust) in what Jesus accomplished on the cross. All of the five major religions, EXCEPT Christianity, claim that Good Works are required to get to Heaven. Christianity believes Good Works (being good) naturally follows our surrender to God’s salvation when we want to carry out God’s purpose for each one of us. Paul says in Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s workmanship, (some translations say “Masterpiece”) created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Therefore, as God told Jeremiah, in the book of his name, chapter 1 verse 5…”Before I (God) formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” We too are set apart to do God’s work joyfully because we are confident of our future with Him forever. Praise Almighty God who blesses us mightily.