As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (Romans 3:10-12)
Would it surprise you to learn that most people believe that they are good people? Probably not, since it is our nature to justify ourselves and weigh our own goodness in comparison to the worst evil we can think of. Proverbs 16:12 says, “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.” So, yes, most people believe that they are good because we tend to compare our goodness to other people, and that is where we make our mistake. The fact is that most people when asked will say that they believe they are good enough to go to Heaven.
God himself set the standard for good and evil, and he gave it in the form of his law (Exodus 20:1-17). If we use only the ten commandments given to Israel on Mt. Sinai as a standard of what is good, how do we measure up? This is an important question because this is God’s standard, and in order to earn a place in Heaven, one would have to keep this law perfectly, with zero violations. James 2:10 says, “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.”
God gave this law as his standard of good, or righteousness. Any violation of the law is sin (1 John 3:4), and the penalty of sin is death and eternity in Hell (Ezekiel 18:4; Romans 6:23, Revelation 20:12-15). Even one violation of God’s law renders one unrighteous. Just as one murder makes one a murderer, one lie makes one a liar. One affair makes one an adulterer, one lustful thought makes one covetous, and so on. The truth is we are all guilty of sin, and by God’s standard, are not good at all.
But, most will argue that they do good deeds. They help the poor, they give to charities, they are nice and try to be helpful to others. They are deceived by Satan into thinking that good deeds cancel out sin, as if God were keeping score, and which ever we do more of will determine our fate. That is religion, and it is evil because it places credit for a man’s salvation from sin with the man. If a murderer donates everything he owns to the poor, he is still guilty of murder. The one does not cancel out the other, and does not pay for the other. God says “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22). The only payment for sin is a blood sacrifice, and there are very strict, specific rules about even that.
So, what must we do to be saved from condemnation of sin, and eternity in Hell? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice for sin because he was fully man, yet fully God; and he lived a perfect, sinless life. He then laid down that life by submitting to execution on the cross, dying for the sins of the world. That includes everyone’s sins, regardless of who they are or what they have done. He arose on the third day and applied his own blood on the mercy seat in Heaven so that we would never have to make sacrifice again. He paid for all sin for all time.
The Bible tells that “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” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Faith in Jesus Christ means to place your trust in Him for salvation since He paid the price and satisfied God’s judgment forever. There is no other way to be cleansed from sin. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
Salvation is of the Lord, not by man, not by religion, not by good works, not earned. It was purchased on Calvary by Jesus Christ, and He gives it freely to any and all who will believe and call upon Him. (John 3:16; Revelation 22:17; John 6:37; Romans 10:9-13)