Often, I hear people say that because they give money to the poor, help the less privileged, volunteer at the homeless shelter, and do other selfless acts, that they will be in God’s good book. In fact, a friend of mine once said that as long as one is doing good 51% of their time here on earth, that they’re heaven bound. This is the thinking of most people that practice false doctrine. Some religions teach their followers that if their good works outweigh their bad works, they’ll be rewarded after death. We see so many places in the Bible where we are told that even at our best attempt at being good, we still fall short of God’s glory. “But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.” Romans 4:5 (NLT)
As Christians, we need to have a clear understanding of what good works entail. It is like the logic of planting and harvesting. Jesus Christ is the root (plant), and good deeds are the fruit (harvest). It is after we know Christ that we can then begin doing the ‘good works’ that are pleasing to Him. We aren’t Christians because of what we do, but we are Christians because we believe in Jesus Christ and everything written about Him in the Bible.“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT)
For some Christians, it is easy to believe that the work and service they dedicate themselves to at the church is enough to buy them a free ticket to heaven. Yes, serving in the hospitality ministry, singing in the choir, serving in the welcome team, are all good works deserving of good rewards, but it is possible to be so invested in these good works, that we forget the God that we are doing it for. Good works are the means by which we minister to others, as we are told in Titus 3:14 “Our people must learn to do good by meeting the needs of others…”, but this shouldn’t be done at the expense of God.
You may be asking yourself that “Why is it that good works don’t get people to heaven?” The simple answer is: Because not one person on this earth is good! People do good only when it is comfortable and beneficial to them. For example, we read the story of the rich man that came up to Jesus and asked him “…what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” Matthew 19:16 (NLT) When Jesus told him to sell all his possessions and give the money to the poor, he left disappointed because he had too many possessions. The rich man only did good when it was convenient for him, but when it meant giving out everything he owned, the thought of wanting to be perfect disappeared.
There is only one being that the Bible calls good and that being is God Himself. Everything we try to do to seem good still makes us short of God’s glory. Romans 3:23 says that “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” (NLT) If you’ve been burdened by the weight of trying to do good works to get into heaven, I suggest you leave that burden at the feet of Jesus, he will give you that rest you need. When you leave this burden to Jesus, you won’t have to worry if your good work is good enough for God.
Suit_ Michael Kors
*** The Bowtie worn is a Michael Kors necktie that I converted to a bow.