Good People Don’t Go To Heaven; Forgiven Sinners Do.
Updated: Mar 27, 2019
People don’t go to heaven as a result of living good or morally upright lives, but only because they have admitted they are sinners in need of forgiveness and have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.
This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.
I’ve never considered myself a good person and prior to becoming a Christian, that’s precisely why I thought I wouldn’t go to heaven. I guess I can be thankful that my sins were blatantly obvious to me and others; because no one had to convince me that I was a sinner. Growing up Catholic, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know the “10 Commandments” and regularly break them.
I was always getting into trouble as a teenager, both in school and at home. Trouble seemed to follow me, and I remember being grounded for 2 months at the beginning of my freshman year in High School. I was the black sheep and rebellious one, and my pattern of sin only escalated and worsened until my life was out of control. But, at the age of 27, God begin to woo me into a relationship with Him, and when by His grace, I understood the message of forgiveness through Jesus’ death on the cross, I received Him as my Lord and Savior.
I’m not going to heaven based on my goodness, but based on the goodness of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice that paid for my sins.
Most people think they will go to heaven because they believe that their good deeds will outweigh their bad ones; and God will grant them entrance. But the truth is that we can’t be good enough to merit admission into heaven because, we have all sinned and perfection is required.
Isaiah 53:3 says, “Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” (NIV)
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” (Romans 3:23 NLT)
No one deserves to go to heaven, and for those with sins that are less egregious than mine, the Bible says that even if we break one commandment, it’s as though we have broken all of them. If we’re honest, we can agree that we have all broken at least one commandment.
James 2:10 says, “For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws.” (NLT)
Some people may appear to be good or to have a good heart, but it’s because their sins are subtle and less visible. They may have secret and inward sins such as: pride, coveting and jealousy, lust, and sins of the heart and mind.
Jesus took it one step further when He said in Matthew 5:27, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (NKJV)
Truthfully, we don’t deserve to go to heaven because of our sins, the payoff of which is death.
Instead we deserve to be separated from God in a real place called hell; but God has a wonderful solution and plan for us to go to heaven and it includes the free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ.
Romans 6:23 says, “Sin pays off with death. But God’s gift is eternal life given by Jesus Christ our Lord.” (CEV)
Thankfully and mercifully God has provided a way for sinners to be forgiven and go to heaven, because the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. It’s purely by His grace and there is nothing we can do to earn our way to heaven.
We can only go to heaven, because God loved us so much that He gave his one and only Son Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect life to die on a cross for our sins. He died in our place and He took our punishment for us, so we could go to heaven. Then He rose from the dead and lives forever as our faithful High Priest.
God wants to have a relationship with us and He wants us to go to heaven. That’s why He sent Jesus.
John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (NIV)
God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NIV)
Jesus offers every person who trusts Him as their Lord and Savior, forgiveness and eternal life.
However, it isn’t enough to just know or agree with this information, because we must personally receive this gift of forgiveness and eternal life. We must ask Jesus to be our own personal Lord and Savior; and trust Him to save us. We do this by believing and receiving Him.
Romans 10:9-10 says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” (NIV)
If we say that Jesus is Lord, that means He is now in control of our lives, directing us and if we believe that God raised Him from the dead we will be saved.
Romans 10:13 says, “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (NIV)
As a Christian, we will still sin, but hopefully less and we can regularly confess our sins and receive forgiveness.
1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (NIV)
Have you received the gift of forgiveness and eternal life?
Please click here if you would like to accept Christ as your personal Lord and Savior now and read more about the next steps that you can take to grow spiritually in your new faith.
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Additional resources about related subjects on this site:
Podcast: What exactly is hell?
Podcast: Have I committed the unpardonable sin?