I have no doubt that some people reading this title are going to be at least a little surprised by it. It is not a gimmick, or a trick. It is just plain Bible truth, and it is a truth that is repeated throughout the Bible.
Before I get to those reasons, I ask that you think for a moment why Jesus needed to die at all. You see, if Heaven could be gained by being or doing enough good, then Jesus did not need to suffer at all. The implication would then be that God made His Son to suffer for nothing. Of course, an all-knowing God did not make that mistake.
Here are five reasons from the Bible why good works cannot save anyone.
- Because God’s Law Demands Perfection
Every one of us knows that nobody is perfect. We’ve all said it. With God, though, it is different. If He let sin and sinners into His holy Heaven – it wouldn’t be Heaven anymore. It would become just like earth – not much to look forward to, in that case.
To let us know what He wanted, He gave us the Ten Commandments. They are the gatekeeper, and they reveal what we really are inside. The problem with law is that it knows no mercy. Do the crime – do the time, is its motto.
God’s Law is also merciless. It says, in James 2:10: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” In plain English, it means if you sin, you forfeit Heaven. Now, the Bible also tells us that: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). This means everyone is in serious trouble with a holy God!
- Because Sin Is Not Erased by Good Works
Since we all have sinned, it means every human is facing a horrible penalty – Hell. Romans 6:23 tells us that the “wages of sin is death.” Hell is the price for sin – even if there were only one. Even judges on earth operate on a similar principle. Doing good works after a crime does not mean you won’t have to pay for the crime. Plainly, crimes against God will also have to be paid for in full.
Here is what the Bible says about paying for sin: “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood” [death]; “and without shedding of blood is no remission” (“remission” means payment for) (Hebrews 9:22). This Bible verse teaches that no sin is erased – ever – without a sacrifice!
- Because Good Works Will Not Change Your Sinful Nature
The Bible makes it plain that we all had a wrong birth. We were born into Adam’s family, and this means we are cursed. Every human needs a new birth and a new nature – one that can please God. The one we are born with loves to sin!
This is why we find that Jesus told one leader in his day: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Once any individual is “born again,” God gives that person a new nature – one that can please Him.
- Because God Does Not Accept Good Works for Salvation
God will never corrupt justice. He will punish sin. If He were to let unrepentant sinners remain unpunished for their sins – then that is not just. Good works cannot buy God off so that He will overlook your sin.
Besides, what people consider to be good works, God does not see them that way at all! In Isaiah 64:6, He tells us: “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses” (good works) “are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Even the best works are just rags to God, if offered in hopes of being saved by them.
- Because Good Works Do Not Glorify God
The reason people try to work their way to Heaven is because they want to try and make themselves look good to God. They want the praise. Unfortunately, it can’t work because God very well knows we are sinners.
Besides that, He sacrificed His Son to buy salvation for you. This means that anyone trying to work their way to Heaven is completely ignoring this great Sacrifice God made for us! They are discounting the very blood of Christ – the only thing that can save their soul!
Notice carefully what God says about works in this verse: “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). Works cannot save the soul. Faith in Christ’s work for you can save.
Notice in these verses also, that works cannot save anyone: “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:27,28).
The single key to getting saved is to trust Christ to save you. He died to take your penalty for sin. Recognize what He did for you. It cost Christ a lot to be able to offer salvation freely to you. Ask Him to forgive you of your sin and to become your Savior today. He is more than willing and able to do it.
Listen to the words of Christ: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
For Salvation and Revival,
Evangelist Mike Valles
If you want to read more information about salvation, I encourage you to read the following posts:
- Christ Offers Salvation and a Better Life
- Can Your Church Give You Salvation?
- God’s Key to Salvation in One Verse
- The Bread That Gives Real Life
- Salvation – God’s Way
- Looking for Immortality?
I also invite you to download, for free, an eBook I wrote making salvation even clearer. It is called How to Be Saved and Know It (PDF).