I remember watching a video of a husband and wife being questioned on the street on whether or not they believed they would go to heaven when they died. They both confidently said, “Yes.”
Once they were questioned with why they believe this, both their answers were striking. They both believed they were going to heaven simply because they were good people.
Mark 10:17-18 says, “When [Jesus] set out on His way, a man came running and knelt before Him, and asked Him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good, except God alone.'”
Moral uprightness is a great virtue to possess as a human being, but it is not an express ticket to the kingdom of God. Being morally upright in character and being a Christian are not mutually exclusive. There’s a huge difference between these two.
No one is good except God. Your standard of goodness falls short from Jesus’ standard. Even when we think that we are blameless and good in ourselves, we aren’t. The natural man is inherently wicked. No one can be good enough to earn their way to heaven. Isaiah 64:6b says, “All our righteousness is as filthy rags.” In other words, your sense of morality is a filthy rag before the Lord.
Many believe that the majority of people in the world are good by nature and that hell is only for extremely evil people. That’s not what the Bible says.
From the moment we are born, we’re on a trajectory to hell, and the only way we can change our trajectory is not through good works. It is simply by accepting the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.
I’ve gotten angry when I shouldn’t have gotten angry. I’ve lied when I shouldn’t have lied. And if I tried to earn my way into heaven, I would fall short every time. But I thank God for Jesus and all He did for me on the cross.
We often place the burden of living right on our own shoulders. We want to do it by ourselves, trusting our flesh and our own works. But once we snub the Holy Spirit and try to do it on our own, living a holy and righteous life becomes impossible.
All we need to do is surrender totally and trust His leading. Partial surrender isn’t surrender. Giving Him half of your life and keeping half for yourself isn’t surrender. Absolute surrender and brokenness are an invitation to the Holy Spirit to take over and help. We don’t have to bear the burden of life alone.
We have an open invitation for the Holy Spirit to help us. In Matthew 11:28-29, Jesus says, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me. For I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Rob Vischer is a freelance writer for Charisma Media.
Read articles like this one and other Spirit-led content in our new platform, CHARISMA PLUS.