Perhaps you’re someone who has difficulty in accepting the mercy and loving forgiveness of God, so freely, without trying to “do something” to receive eternal life. “... but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
However, imagine if a voice came to you from Heaven proclaiming, “If you will crawl on your knees for ten miles I will save your soul and give you eternal life!”
or perhaps if the voice of God promised that if you do something physical and tangible, like give $10,000 dollars to the Church, or spend a week on your knees praying, and for doing this, God will guarantee you an eternal home in Heaven! I tell you, then multitudes of people would rush out and “DO” these good deeds to obtain God΄s gift of eternal life. You know that’s true.
Self-participation, or doing good to earn eternal life is an easier concept for many to accept than God΄s simple plan of salvation, which is - a free gift of Life, by faith in Jesus Christ!
Indeed, the Holy Scriptures command us to do good works, but NOT for our salvation. The Bible explains another twofold purpose for trying to be a good person.
First, the Bible says, “...That they (other people) may see your good works, and glorify your Father, which is in Heaven” (Matthew 5:16). Our good works are an external evidence of an internal change that has taken place in our hearts and it shows this to others through our born again lives. Unbelievers will recognize your changed new life in Christ and this brings glory to God!
The Bible teaches, Zacchaeus did good works AFTER he was born again. “And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold” (Luke 19:8).
True Biblical salvation will change you at the precise point in time you become a Christian. The Apostle Paul received Christ as his personal Saviour on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:6) and his life was transformed on that very day. Paul changed from persecuting Christians to praising Jesus Christ! The Apostle Paul΄s life of good works following the various religious rules did not earn him a place in Heaven. It was the Apostle Paul’s BELIEVING IN JESUS CHRIST when he knelt in prayer that secured his future in Heaven above!
You must realize that you can never earn eternal life in Heaven yourself by being good, nor by following any religious practice... You must be born again of the spirit, at that point in time when you bow your head and heart to God Almighty and call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to save your soul. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:14).
Secondly, we must note that although we do not work to receive eternal life, there is another purpose or reason for obeying God’s Word in doing good deeds and work. The Bible teaches that we will earn eternal rewards based upon our faithfulness to God΄s will for our lives and our service to Him now. “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12).
“If any man΄s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man΄s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” (1 Corinthians 3:14). Notice that you can be saved by faith and go to Heaven with little or no rewards simply by living a selfish life...
Then too, I must warn you that you can do good works and not go to Heaven! “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I NEVER KNEW YOU: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7: 22,23).
“in that day...”; This means judgment Day, The Great White Throne Judgment. At that time when a person hears these words their opportunity to get eternal life shall be forever gone. Then they will realize the horror of being sent to Hell for eternity without any hope. It is so sad but true that God will reject Many people because they placed their trust in themselves.
Jesus is the way to Heaven! Trusting in Christ alone and in His work on the Cross for our sin is what He wants. This is our work, that we might believe, and accept His finished work. The last words of Jesus as He was dying on the cross were, “It is Finished!”
Don΄t you see that? In spite of your good works Jesus says, “I never knew you!” In spite of your honesty, “I never knew you!” In spite of your religious fervency, “I never knew you...” Although you may be a devout religious person, yet your good works will be called iniquity because those things are the wrongly placed object of your faith.
Why not trust God today? Look unto Jesus Christ the Saviour and trust His finished work on the cross for your salvation now? Then build your eternal rewards on the foundational Rock which is Christ through your good and faithful works....
Put your trust in Jesus Christ today! “Lord Jesus, please forgive me and come into my heart. I admit that I am a sinner and I could never save myself. Thank you for dying on the cross to pay for my sins. I need You and I am trusting You and You alone for eternal life, my salvation! Save me dear LORD Jesus! Amen!”