"Works! works! A man gets to heaven by works! I would as soon think of climbing to the moon on a rope of sand." -George Whitefield
Works, I've been this guy. I thought I could "earn" my way to heaven. I thought I could be good enough to counter balance my bad works. You know what I mean, give extra money when the offering plate comes by, volenteer to do some kind of notable deed at a soup kitchen or local church, give blood or even go to church on easter and christmas. Most of these "acts" of goodness are just that, acts. I did those things to get God's attention and maybe even to get people's attention so they would say, "hey that Kevin is not that bad of a guy." The sad thing is, my heart always betrayed me. In God's eyes, these works would NEVER get me to heaven. I could spend countless hours trying to "be good" and do good things but none of these good deeds could change my heart. See, even my good "works" were tainted. There was always something in it for me. The bible tells us in Isaiah 64:6 that even my "good works" are like dirty rags. Jesus says in Matthew 7:21 that some people will do awesome works in His name. But in the end, He tells them He never even knew them! That is a scary thought to imagine that people can trick themselves into thinking they will go to Heaven just because they are youth pastors, sunday school teachers, deacons, and even pastors. Our idea of a good person will still go to hell if they don't know Jesus. The people in the Matthew 7:21 verse depended on their great works and exploits to get them into heaven. However, they had no relationship with the one who died for their sins (2 Corinthians 5:21). They never repented of their evil deeds (Acts 17:30). They never cried because of their wickedness (Psalms 51). Instead, they just did good deeds to earn their way to heaven. I've tried this, I've done the preformanced based grace. It really is like trying to climb to the moon on a rope of sand.
Take note for a moment of what you are reading...all other religions make you earn your way to Heaven. Islam has you die a martyr, by killing infidels, to get to heaven, while Jesus died for His people. Buddha has you believe you can get your mind pure and calm and you will enter an enlightened state until you enter Nirvana. And With enough meditation and chanting you can reach a level where you have no more suffering by following the eightfold path. However, Jesus suffered for our sins in our place. Hinduism has a cast system and is based on the concept of reincarnation. If you are good enough in this life you might be born into a wealthy family or if you were bad you might be born poor or disfigured. Jesus died for sinners and we are all equal to one another as we kneel at the foot of the cross.
Stop climbing ropes of sand to nowhere. Trust in Jesus, he is the ultimate payer of the debt you could never pay. Romans 6:23 tells us the price of our sins is death. Jesus paid our debts owed to God because we broke his commmands. Now with Christ's righteousness credited to our spirtual account we are justified before God. Romans 5:2 says we now can come to God. Romans 5:10 says we were His enemies. Today, stop climbing the rope and kneel at the cross where your sins are paid for!