3 Reasons Good Works Won’t Get You Into 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.

cross drawn in powder

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Chad 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 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 has nothing to do with determining where he/she will go for all eternity!

There are 3 good reasons why doing good works will never grant anyone entrance into 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

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.

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


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 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


Three…God said salvation is by faith alone.

Faith in Jesus Christ alone, not our “good” works, is God’s way to Heaven.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by meJohn 14:6

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

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

In our reading this week, 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 works, 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 over and over again in the scriptures that 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)

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

Jesus said to the Pharisees, men who believed that their works would save them…

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

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!

Salvation is by faith in Jesus Christ alone.

NOT…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 I pray that you will come to realize that your efforts mean nothing to God.  And that you will stop “trying,” and simply accept that Jesus’ death 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 Heaven.  (1 John 5:13) 


Drawing nigh to Him,


This post is part of our Philippians Bible Study.

Study Journal available >> HERE!


Are you 100% sure you will go to Heaven when you die?  If you don’t mind, tell us in the Comments how you came to know that for sure.  Tell us about the day Jesus saved you.

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.

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