Religion: Good Works
Are you a good person? Do you believe in God? Do you go to church? Will Good Works get you to heaven?
Previous: Man: God’s Purpose
Many people try to satisfy God’s judgment and attempt to gain or earn eternal life many different ways like. They think they are going to heaven based on a system of belief (religion) or a moral code.
We will examine some common misconceptions.
Man says, “I believe in God.”
The Bible says, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder” (James 2:19). Believing that God exists is a good start but that alone will not get a person into heaven. “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him” (Romans 1:21).
Man says, “I am a good person and I do good deeds (help others, sacrifice time and effort, donate money to church/charity).”
The Bible says, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6a). Giving of time and money and helping others are “good” things to do but they will not save us from eternal death in Hell. Remember that we were all born with a sinful nature so it is not what we do but who we are (Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:8-9).
Going to Church
Man says, “I go to church, worship God and take place in religious ceremonies (traditions).”
The Bible says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12). Going to church and taking part in religious ceremonies or ordinances (i.e. communion) again are “good” things but they do not take care of man’s sin problem. Churchgoing folk may even fool a lot of people, including themselves, into thinking they are “good”. On the outside (actions, speech) people may even appear to be Christians but God knows the heart of all men. “He (Jesus) said to them (Pharisees) “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight” (Luke 16:15).
Man says, “I am not as bad as so and so nor do I commit major sins (murder, adultery, robbery).”
The Bible says, “Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin” (Proverbs 20:9). God is perfect and therefore all sin is serious in His sight. The Bible teaches that sin is not limited to just actions but also includes thoughts and words. “He (Jesus) went on “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean’. For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean'” (Mark 7:20-23).
Powerless to Save
Man is powerless to save himself from sin’s penalty of death. Our best efforts will not pay the debt of sin demanded from us by a holy and just God.
“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death”(Romans 7:24)?
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By Kevin Haag. © New Testament Christian.