Why Trying to Be Good Can’t Get You to Heaven

For many people, being good means “doing whatever seems right to you” or “doing whatever feels good”. That definition is a problem because what one person thinks is good, another thinks is bad. Disagreements on what is good lead some people to do violence against others.

If we really want to know what is good, we must look to what God says. I am speaking of the God of the Bible, the one true, living God. His definition of good is the only definition that truly matters. It will be the standard God uses on the day we stand before Him to give an account of our life (Romans 14:12).

God is the holy Creator of the heavens and earth and all that is in them (Genesis 1). As Creator, God has all authority over His Creation. He alone has authority to say what is good and to make the rules by which we should live.

God is completely pure and good. He is morally right at all times. He alone is perfectly holy and righteous.

Have you thought about God’s Ten Commandments lately (Exodus 20:1-17)? They are a reflection of God’s righteous character. They tell us what is good in God’s sight.

Can You Be Good By Following God’s Commandments?

God gave us His commandments to follow. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that we should be good if we follow them. We should be able to go down God’s list of “Don’ts” and check them off each day. “I didn’t lie. I didn’t steal. I didn’t kill”, and so on.

What we fail to realize is this: In our own strength, we can never follow God’s laws completely. We can never fully attain to His holy standard of thought and behavior. 

God is completely righteous, but we humans are not. We are all born bent toward sin. What is sin? Scripture describes it as self-will and rebellion against God. We all want to “do our own thing”. And it’s a heart problem.

A Heart Problem

We may try to be good. We may do many good works. On the outside, we may look good. But inside us, in our hearts, we have unholy thoughts, bad attitudes, and wrong motives.

God sees what is in our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7). And here is what He sees: 

“For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Matthew 15:19).

Jesus no doubt shocked his audience when He spoke these words:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28).

Have you ever hated anyone? 1 John 3:15 tells us this sobering truth: 

“Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him” (1 John 3:15).

God’s standard of being good is so much higher than we ever imagined. And no matter how hard we try to follow God’s commandments, we can never be good enough to earn heaven (Romans 3:20).

Scripture portrays us as stained with sin, inside and out.

Romans 3:23  “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Romans 3:10-12  “There is no one righteous, not even one…there is no one who does good, not even one.”

We may not realize it, but we are actually in a desperate situation.

Why Our Situation is Desperate

Warning! Warning! There is danger ahead if you are not right with God!

Do you remember the Scripture definition of sin earlier in this article? Sin is self-will and rebellion against God.

In God’s eyes, sin is a serious offense against His holiness. It alienates us from Him and makes us guilty in His sight.

Because God is holy and just, He can’t (and won’t) ignore our sin. His perfect justice requires that sin be punished and paid for. And the price is extremely high.

Romans 6:23a  “For the wages of sin is death…”

Death! That is what our sin earns us! Death means more than physical death. It also means spiritual death – separation from God forever in a place of torment called hell.

We are all guilty! We all earn death by our sin! We are helpless to save ourselves!

Trying to obey God’s laws cannot earn us salvation. Doing good works cannot earn us God’s favor.

We desperately need a Savior.

We need someone who can pay the penalty for our sin and rescue us from sin and its consequences. We need someone like God Himself.

Only One Way

The good news of the gospel is that what we could not do, God has done for us. God loves us so much, He sent us a Savior: His own Son, Jesus Christ! 

Romans 5:8  “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Jesus, the sinless Son of God, willingly paid the penalty for our sins with His own blood. He took our sins on Himself on the cross and suffered and died for us. He endured the punishment and judgment that should have been ours.

Three days later, God raised Him from the dead, proving that He had accepted His Son’s sacrifice for our sins. Proving that Jesus is who He claimed to be: God the Son. 

The Bible is clear that God has exalted Jesus. He lives and reigns forever as King and Lord of all. He is the ONLY Door to salvation and heaven.

Do you know how to enter that Door? Read “How Can I Know God?” Don’t delay. God loves you. Accept His invitation today.

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Comments

  1. Peggy Giles  April 24, 2019

    Thank you for your insight regarding sin and about how to get to heaven. We can never be good enough on our own to get to heaven.

    I like the format o your website.

    Love in Jesus,
    Peggy Giles

    reply
  2. Peggy Giles  April 24, 2019

    Love your website. Also love your words of life!

    reply
    • Wendy Knight
      Wendy Knight  April 24, 2019

      Thank you for your words of encouragement, Peggy.

      reply

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