237. WHY YOUR GOOD DEEDS/WORKS ARE NOT ENOUGH TO EARN YOU A SPACE IN HEAVEN
(The Abundant Life Series – Batch 2)
We are born in sin and have been shaped in iniquity because of who our ancestors were. The Bible makes it clear that Adam and Eve sinned and since then, to now, sin passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (Romans 5:12; Psalm 51:5).
We therefore entered this world with the spiritual disease of sin in our DNA and are in need of a spiritual blood transformation from heaven, so as to redeem us from this curse which brings death. In addition to the fact that we are born in a sin state to our parents who are sinners, from as soon after we are born and start to grow and increase in understanding as a small child, we begin to sin. This comes naturally and automatically to us without anybody having to teach us because we were born with the inclination to do wrong already in us.
If we were then to add up all the sins and wrongs we committed from a small child to now (and God has a perfect record of this), there is no way that all of the good works that we now do, can compensate, to repay for all of these sins. It would simply not be enough. What we call good works are of themselves, like filthy rags, in terms of worth, in God’s sight.
In Isaiah 64:6, the Prophet Isaiah explained it perfectly when he said of the human race “But 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.”
If we were to set up a scale and place all of our good works on one side and all of the bad, sinful and evil works we have done in this life so far on the other, the scale would tip overwhelmingly on the side of the sins that we have committed. In simple words, we have committed way more sin than we have done good in this life and given that each sin carries a large weighting, our good deeds cannot even begin to erase this massive debt against us.
Some take the view that after they come to Christ through grace, he erases the debt completely and they now start afresh with a clean slate. This is true. However, some of these people err in the belief, that with a clean slate and their past no more being held against them, the scale has been brought back into balance and so they can now continue on from that point and earn their salvation by good works.
This is a false view to hold. For firstly, even if the slate were to be wiped clean through grace alone by faith alone in Jesus alone (which is what happens when a person truly surrenders his or her life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ), once that person continues on living, he or she will still sin (although he or she is now expected to sin less because the Holy Spirit which guides, teaches, empowers and sanctifies is now indwelling that person). He or she does not become sinless (although God sees him or her through the covering provided by the precious blood of his Son Jesus as perfect because Jesus, the Captain of our salvation is perfect and sinless). Such a person does not become sinless but sins less and less and less with each passing day, as Jesus moulds that person more and more to resemble Him.
Given this fact, if after salvation and the slate being wiped clean by grace, we are to measure the weight of the sins we commit and will still commit throughout our lives from that point onward against all the good that we will now do, we would find that we have still not done enough good works from that point to erase the weight of all of those present and future sins and therefore, we cannot earn a way to heaven based on this merit system.
The Bible rightly says, we have all sinned and COME SHORT of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Even if a person were to do an equal amount of good deeds to the sins he or she commits after salvation, this is still not good enough to earn that person access to God’s heaven.
For, firstly, it is not the number of the sins and good deeds that matter but the weight each carries. Even if the number of sins versus good deeds were equal in number (which it never is), the gravity of the sins and the penalty they carry, far outweigh the good deeds performed. Secondly, gaining access to God’s heaven always requires sinless perfection. Since we are imperfect in our own strength and effort and still sin to some extent after coming to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, we can never hope at any point, not before salvation or after, to ever earn our way to heaven or to place reliance on any of our own so-called righteousness, so as to become entitled by our good works, for heaven.
IF NOT WORKS, THEN WHAT?
There is still hope. Although as sinners, our works and good deeds are not good enough or sufficient enough to give us access to heaven when we die, the blood of Jesus Christ is.
To gain access to heaven, all God requires is that we:
- 1 – Believe that Jesus Christ his Son, who came to earth in human form as a baby years ago, died voluntarily and sacrificially for our sins by allowing himself to be captured, beaten, mocked, ridiculed, spit on, tortured and then crucified, by the very people he created because death was the price that God required to be paid for sin and in his love, Jesus came to earth to provide a ransom in his own death, for the sins of the whole world. Given that he was perfect and had never sinned, his death was considered as an acceptable substitutionary atonement by God for all the world’s sins (Hebrews 9:28; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 2:2; Hebrews 9:12; Romans 5:6-11; Hebrews 13:12; Isaiah 53;5);
- 2 – Believe that although Jesus died, on the third day, he did not stay dead but was raised back up from the dead by God the Father, just as he prophesied would happen (Romans 10:9, Romans 8:11; Romans 6:4; Acts 17:31; 1 Peter 1:3). When Jesus was resurrected from the dead, he appeared to more than five hundred (500) people, not as a ghost but in the flesh and stayed on earth for at least forty (40) days, before ascending back to heaven, this ascension being witnessed by his disciples (1 Corinthians 15:3-7; Acts 1:3; James 20:24-29);
- 3 – Confess with our mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, meaning that, unlike those who killed him all those years ago, we truly want him to rule over us as our Creator, our Redeemer and our Saviour and are ready in repentance to completely surrender to his Lordship and life lived His way.
Once we believe and confess Him, in repentance, we are to ask Jesus Christ to forgive us of our sins (too numerous and ugly to mention one by one) and to cleanse us from our sinful DNA by washing us in His precious blood, which, although it was shed years ago, still has power to cleanse and save because it was perfect blood from God the Son.
This blood justifies the vilest of sinners and provides positional sanctification into the family of God when a person surrenders control of his heart to Jesus (Hebrews 13:12, 20; Ephesians 1:7; Romans 5:9; Revelations 1:5; Hebrews 9:13-14; Hebrews 7:25).
From this point, we are to resolve to turn away from whatever we know is sin and in simple trusting faith in the finished work of Christ, know that we are saved by grace through faith, not of works, so that we cannot boast (Ephesians 2:8).
Jesus already paid the price when he died once, for all of our sins, past and present, so that there is no need for us to try to work to appease God’s wrath and to earn a place in heaven, either before or after we surrender our hearts to Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:10).
God’s wrath was appeased when Jesus Christ shed his blood on the cross for our sins and all that believe on His name (which God the Father highly exalted above every other name) and truly confess him as Lord, receive this free gift (Philippians 2:9-11).
Those who do not believe on Jesus, do not believe that he was on earth, died and rose up again on the third day and that he is truly Lord over all and do not therefore repent of their sins are still outside the righteous covering of Jesus Christ, as they have not been washed by his precious and perfect blood which justifies the sinner who comes to him by faith and grants that sinner an inheritance in heaven.
Those that continue on in life thinking that they can earn their way to heaven or please God by the things they do and the life they live and the practices they keep and the changes they make and the things they give up or how often they attend Church or the things they claim to do for the Lord or how good they have been are STILL sinners in God’s sight, outside of the blood covering of Jesus Christ, not clothed in the necessary spiritual garment of HIS perfect righteousness and are therefore destined (if they remain in that condition) for hell.
John 3:18 states of Jesus and his testimony as given in the Bible, which is true: “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
In closing, Romans 3:20-28 states:
- “Therefore BY THE DEEDS of the law there SHALL NO FLESH BE JUSTIFIED in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God WITHOUT THE LAW is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God WHICH IS BY FAITH OF JESUS CHRIST unto all and upon all them that BELIEVE: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being JUSTIFIED FREELY BY HIS GRACE through the redemption that is IN CHRIST JESUS: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation THROUGH FAITH IN HIS BLOOD, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? OF WORKS? NAY: BUT BY THE LAW OF FAITH. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”
(Written on 31st July, 2019)
Dear Reader, if you found the above Article to be informative, edifying, beneficial or interesting, you may also be interested in reading the following:
- Note 93 – ‘Must I Keep The Law? (Part 1/3)‘
- Note 172 – ‘Are You Trying To Establish Your Own Righteousness?’
- Note 243 – ‘What The Bible Says About Keeping The Law (Part 2/3)‘
- Note 246 – ‘To Those Who Insist On Keeping The Law (Part 3/3)‘