27 Good Works Bible Verses About Good Works Not Getting You To Heaven

A few weeks ago, my husband and I were granted the privilege to share the gospel message with a repairman (we will call Chad) who had come to our home.  As he went to leave that afternoon, I gave him a tract and asked him—

If you were to die today, are you 100% sure, that you’d go to Heaven?

And like so many others I’ve talked with over the years, he, too, told us that he wasn’t sure, but that he was trying.  By God’s grace, we were able to share with Chad many good works Bible verses – Bible verses about good works not getting you to Heaven – And that salvation is not the result of works.

cross drawn in powder

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Good Works Bible Meaning

And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

John 8:29

Good works are “those things that please him,” our Heavenly Father. Things that we do in obedience to the will of God, or God’s law. The problem for us, though, is that the only Person who has, or ever will, be able to say that they have “always” done only things that please God is the Lord Christ.

Chad was full of good works.  In our conversation he gave my husband and me a list of good works that he tried to do everyday.  He was a good employee, a good provider for his wife and son.  He didn’t go to church, but listened to Christian radio as he traveled for his job.  Chad loved his wife.  He loved his son.  He always called his son to tell him goodnight, if he was not going to make it home before his bedtime.  And on and on.

And according to what Chad told us, I’d had to agree with him.  He had been doing good things, being a good person.

But the fact is, all the good deeds he could do in this life will never get him into the presence of the holy God in Heaven.

Some people, like Chad, believe that they can be good enough…do enough good works…that surely God will spare them from hell and let them into Heaven.

While others believe that in order to be saved from hell and go to Heaven, we must believe on Jesus, but also must do certain good works.

But again, the fact is, works will never save anyone from going to hell…or help save anyone. Or even keep anyone saved once he/she is saved. 
A person’s good works, or bad works, have nothing to do with determining where he/she will go for all eternity!

A person’s good works, or bad works, have nothing to do with determining where he/she will go for all eternity!

Good Works Bible Verses About Good Works Not Getting You to Heaven 

The Bible tells us how a person must be saved.  And that there are 3 good reasons why doing good works will not save anyone from hell and grant entrance into Heaven.  Be sure to pay close attention to each of these good works Bible verses about good works not getting you to Heaven.

One…God said our good works can never be good enough.

It is not possible that anything good we do would ever be good enough to be our “ticket” to Heaven.

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.  

Isaiah 64:6

Why are our good deeds not good enough to get us into Heaven?  Because our good works are as filthy rags, meaning that try as we might, the good we may do would still be tainted, because of the fact that we ourselves are unclean.

If I mop my kitchen floor with a dirty mop, the floor is still dirty.  My intentions were good, but the result isn’t.

When any of us try to do good, that good is always tainted by sinful human flesh.

My efforts, my righteousnesses, my works are as filthy rags to God.  They don’t measure up to His holiness.

Therefore, no amount of doing “good” works will ever make anyone clean enough to enter Heaven.  No one is good on their own merit.  (Romans 3:10)

And there shall in no wise enter into it [Heaven] any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.  

Revelation 21:27

Just as mopping the floor with a dirty mop didn’t make the mop clean (or the floor)…

The filthy rags of our righteousnesses can never make us clean.

We cannot make ourselves clean.  Only the blood of Jesus can do that.

…the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 

1 John 1:7
antique parchment paper watercolor dried flowers text overlay good works Bible verses 1 John 1:7

Two…God said the penalty for sin would be death…not a certain amount or type of good works.

God told Adam and Eve in the garden that the punishment for disobedience to His command would be death, both physically and spiritually.

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. 

Genesis 2:17

Adam and Eve disobeyed, and death entered the world.  (Romans 5:12)

According to God, the punishment for sin, is death.

For the wages of sin is death; 

Romans 6:23

God did NOT say, “The punishment for sin will be to complete a certain number, of a certain kind, of good works in your lifetime.  And if you do, then I’ll forgive your sin and let you into Heaven.”

God never says in His Word that being baptized, or belonging to a certain church, or doing any other types of good works would save, or be a part of saving, anyone from hell.

Death is the punishment, payment, penalty God requires for sin.

Good works will never equal death.

Anyone who sins is condemned to death.  That means everyone, “for all have sinned.”  (Romans 3:23 above)

…the soul that sinneth, it shall die.  

Ezekiel 18:4

It is only because Christ Jesus died in your place taking the punishment for your sins, that you have the hope of escaping that punishment, that spiritual death in hell.

…how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;  

1 Corinthians 15:3

For more help growing in your walk with God, you’ll want to be sure to check out all these Practical Ways to Get Closer to God Today!


Three…God said salvation is by faith alone.

Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone, not our “good” works, is God’s way to Heaven and eternal life.  Jesus is the only way verse 6 of John 14 tells us.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  

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 14:6, 3:16

If anyone could have been saved by works, it would have been the apostle Paul.

In Philippians, we learn that Paul was a devout and zealous Pharisee who was blameless as far as obeying the law of God.  He was what we would call a good person.  A really good person.

Yet, he came to understand the truth…that his own righteousness, his own doing, could not save him.

He had to have the righteousness of God…by faith.

And be found in him [Christ], not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law[works], but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 

Philippians 3:9

God tells us…

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
antique parchment paper watercolor dried flowers text overlay good works Bible verses Ephesians 2:8-9

Therefore, you cannot earn your way to heaven.  Salvation and entrance into Heaven is dependent NOT on our works, but upon faith in Jesus’ death on the cross as the payment for our sins. (Romans 10:9-10, 1 Peter 2:24, Isaiah 53:5-6)

Salvation is a gift. The gift of Heaven is not something we can work for or earn.

Jesus said to the Pharisees, men who believed that their good works, their efforts to do the works of the law, would save them…

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in 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 7:21-23

You see, like the Pharisees, we can believe whatever we want to about how to go to Heaven, but that doesn’t make it so. It’s what GOD says that matters!

We can believe whatever we want to about how to go to Heaven, but that doesn’t make it so. It’s what GOD says that matters!

What Does the Bible Say About Good Works and Salvation?

While it is the right thing to do good, a life of good works, according to God’s Word, will never save anyone from hell.

As we have seen, salvation is by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

NOT by works or by being a good person.  And NOT…by faith in Jesus plus any good work you might add to that faith. 

Are you like Chad?  Are you still “trying” to be good enough and do the “right” things in order to be saved and go to Heaven?  Then please read and reread all the Bible verses about good works not getting you to Heaven given in this article.  Especially John 14 where we find the only way to get to Heaven, according to the Bible, verse 6.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  

John 14:6

Jesus is THE way.  Not one of many ways.  

Jesus is THE way.  Not part of the way: no one is saved by trying to add good works to the required faith.  Jesus is the only way to salvation.  

So Then, How Can We Be Saved?

You may be wondering and thinking that what you’ve read so far is great! But what next?  How can I be saved and know that I am on my way to Heaven? 

The answer is simple. The gospel, the good news, is that we simply, and humbly, come to God by faith in Christ alone!  Or, we remain in our sin, and die eternally separated from Him in the place called hell.  

You must come to realize, if you haven’t already, that your efforts mean nothing to God.  And that you just must stop “trying,” and simply accept that Jesus’ death and resurrection satisfied God’s requirement for the punishment of your sin.

Only when you settle that truth in your heart, and humbly ask Jesus to forgive your sins and save your soul, will you truly rest.

Only then will you know, 100% sure, that you are forgiven and will certainly be granted entrance into the kingdom of Heaven.  (1 John 5:13) 

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Romans 10:9-10,13

RELATED FREE RESOURCE: Free! Gospel Evangelism Bible Verses Printable

Good Works Bible Verses For Christians

Good works in the Bible are the works God’s people do through the power of the Spirit.  These are the good works God is pleased with.  As God’s children grow in knowledge of Him and His Word, we begin to allow the Spirit to govern our actions. We are then able to obey God’s leading in such a way that our lives produce the fruits of the Spirit and thereby the good works that please our Saviour. 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-25

That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

Colossians 1:10

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 5:16

For we are his (God’s) workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:10

I (Jesus) am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

John 15:5

Our new way of life in Christ is to live to God’s glory.  We are to let our light shine so that others can see our good works, those works of God He does through us.  When we do good out of love and thankfulness to God for our salvation, others’ thanksgiving to God glorifies Him.  And leads others to want the light, love, joy, and peace revealed in us.  Our good works, then, lead others to want to know Jesus as Saviour, too!

Good works don’t save us, but they do have a purpose in the new life of the believer…God’s glory and the furtherance of His kingdom.

Are you striving to live a good life and be a good person in your own strength to earn God’s favor and salvation? Do you want to do the work of God? Then “believe on Him whom He hath sent,” the Lord Jesus Christ! Only then will you find salvation and rest for your soul.  And the ability to live in a manner worthy of the Lord.

Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

John 6:29

Drawing nigh to Him,



This post is part of our Philippians Bible Study.

Study Journal available >> HERE!


Do you know someone who isn’t sure about where they will spend eternity? Why not share with them today the truth of God’s Word in this post? Tomorrow may be too late.

For more help in learning to share the gospel message, you might like to check out our new resource >> Through Open Doors: Unlocking the Mystery of Soul Winning

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    1. Hi, LJ!
      Thank you for reading and for your kind words! Praise the Lord for His wonderful way of salvation that does not depend on anything we do!
      Blessings! 💗

      1. Hi Teresa!
        This was put together Beautifully. I was wondering what track did you hand out to Chad?
        The steps to peace with God. Its so easy to understand. That’s the one I like to use.

        1. Hi, Sally!
          The tract I used is titled, “Where Are You Going to Spend Eternity?” and can be ordered online for free through Fellowship Tract League. I like this one because it is thorough while also consice in explaining the gospel. But also love that even if they never even open it, they will have read the front, and that question will stay with them! And cause them to wonder.
          Blessings! 💗

          1. Good day,
            I came across your post after having a brief conversation with my adult daughter about good works alone not getting you into heaven. I am a Christian, saved by Grace, but she feels that doing good works alone is enough. She does not listen to me, because she feels that this is my belief only, but I explained to her that it is what the Bible says. I told her I will keep praying for her, but she told me to not waste my time on her, but to pray for others, like her dad, who needs it more. I told her I will not stop, and she left the conversation. I will share your post with her.
            I WILL NOT GIVE UP.

          2. Hi, Gwenda!
            I know from experience that it is very difficult when our close loved ones don’t know Jesus and follow the truth of God’s Word. I’m praying for your daughter that God will do the work that only He can do to open her blinded eyes and heart to her need of Him and Him alone! We who know the truth can never give up praying and hoping for our children, our spouses, our parents and siblings, and anyone else we know of! God does hear our heart cries! And answers!
            Praying for you in the battle!
            Blessings! 💗

    1. Hi, Kelly!
      Great questions! I pray more people would ask these questions. There is no special prayer to pray that will save you. God already knows what’s in your heart, so a simple prayer is all that is needed. Just talk to God and tell Him you know that as a sinner you deserve eternal punishment in hell, but that you believe Jesus died to pay for your sins for you. And humbly ask God to forgive you and save your soul from hell. When I prayed at age 13 all I prayed was,”Dear Jesus, please save me and help me know I’m saved.” And He did! I’m praying for you, Kelly! Please let me know if you still have questions.
      Blessings! 💗

  1. Teresa why is there never a distinction in the Bible that differentiates between spiritual death and physical death? Why is there no discussion about the death of the soul versus the death of a physical person? So if you embrace Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and acknowledge that He died for your sins, then you will be able to enter the kingdom of heaven. I get that. It’s great! But let’s talk about what happens to the soul. Without accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior does it die in the absence of Christ? Is that what going to hell means? This is confusing for most people including myself.

    1. Hi, Katherine!
      That is a good question–What happens to the soul of someone who dies without Christ as their Saviour? The Bible speaks of two deaths. The first death is the physical death, when the soul is separated from the body. The second death is the spiritual death of a soul that dies without believing on Christ as their Saviour and is separated from God for all eternity in hell in the lake of fire.
      “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)
      Souls that die without Christ do not cease to exist. They will suffer an eternal punishment in hell banished from the presence of God and from all goodness.
      “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (Matthew 25:46)
      In this eternal punishment that lasts forever, these souls will feel excruciating torment of pain and thirst, and remember life on earth and feel regret and incredible hopelessness. We know this from Luke 16:19-31 and other passages.
      But because God so loved the world, you and me and everyone, He gave Himself (the Lord Jesus) to suffer the penalty of our sins in our place on the cross, so that we could humble ourselves and believe on Jesus’ sacrifice for us and be saved from that horrible eternal reality.
      “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)
      God wants everlasting life for us, not everlasting death.
      I hope this helps answer your question. Please contact me if you’d like to talk further, or comment again here.
      In Christ💗

  2. A question came up from one of my adult children’s about whether certain groups of people are saved, heading to Heaven. What about those that came before Jesus was born?
    What about those who live in remote corners of the world who haven’t heard the good news?

    1. Hi, Ann!
      These are really good questions, and it’s great that your children are thinking and asking you questions about the gospel and salvation. There is a post here that answers the question “What About Those Who Never Hear About Jesus?” You can find it by using the search icon (magnifying glass) in the site menu. Those who lived before Jesus was born were saved by faith in God’s promise to send the Messiah. (Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 7:14, etc) Jesus has always been the only way to Heaven for anyone, anywhere, anytime.
      Blessings! 💗

      1. Thank you for this post. I ask the Holy Spirit to help me pray that the basis of my doing good is from Him that gives life to it.