"I'm a good person, so why wouldn't I go to heaven"
"Ask the LORD for rain in the springtime; it is the LORD who makes the storm clouds. He gives showers of rain to men, and plants of the field to everyone." Zechariah 10:1 (NIV)Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain; [so] the LORD shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.Zechariah 10 (KJV) verse 1
Charles Stanley says:
Salvation refers to the freedom gained when God rescues a person from slavery to sin and makes him or her part of His family. This deliverance is accomplished only through His Son Jesus, who died in our place so we might be reconciled to the Father. Colossians 1:22:
In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight...
This statement often evokes questions:
- What if I try to live morally right, working hard at my job and being good to my family - won't God accept me? Such questions assume that the Lord saves us on the basis of the way we live. But Romans 3:10 (NASB)As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.Romans 3 (KJV) verse 10 says, "There is none righteous, not even one." In God's sight, even our righteous acts are like dirty rags (Isaiah 64:6 NIVBut we are all as an unclean [thing], and all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.Isaiah 64 (KJV) verse 6). Holy God will not have dealings with unrighteous people apart from Jesus Christ.
- Won't the Lord accept us because of His goodness? God is loving and good, but He is also just. He won't overlook sin, no matter how small we think it is. Pride makes us reject the idea that we need forgiveness or cleansing from sin.
- If we serve in our church or help the poor in God's name, aren't we part of His family? Good works do not solve our sin problem or reconcile us to God. Only Jesus does (Romans 5:1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.Romans 5 verse 1). Good works are an important result of salvation, not a basis for it.
Salvation is a work of God's grace, not the product of man's effort. When we respond to the Spirit's prompting, believe in Jesus, and are born again as God's children (John 3:3Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.John 3 verse 3), we can be assured of our place in heaven. How sure are you?
And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:1-10
Billy Graham responds:
Many people have a misconception about God and what is required for us to go to heaven. They think of God as if He held a balance or pair of scales in His hand, weighing our good deeds on one side of the scales and our bad deeds on the other. As long as our good deeds outweigh our bad deeds, we think God will surely reward us with eternal life.
But that is a serious misunderstanding and is wrong. Instead, God's standard is perfection, because He is a holy God who is without sin. That is why the Bible warns,
"For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." James 2:10 (NIV)For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one [point], he is guilty of all.James 2 (KJV) verse 10
There is only one conclusion:
"All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23 (NIV)For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.Romans 3 (KJV) verse 23
How then can anyone be saved and have eternal life?
Only by God's grace and forgiveness. And God has made this possible because Jesus Christ took our sins and our punishment upon Himself when He died on the cross. He is without sin, but God put all your sins on Him and He willingly died for you because He loves you.
Do not trust your own goodness; you can never be good enough to earn your way to heaven. Instead, turn to Christ for the forgiveness you need, and ask Him to be your Lord and Savior. Do not let your pride get in your way, but admit your need to God and trust Christ alone for your salvation.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)(verse 8) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:
(verse 9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.Ephesians 2 (KJV) verses 8-9