15 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 Bible verses about good works not getting you to Heaven.

cross drawn in powder illustrating Bible verses about good works not getting you to heaven

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Good Works Definition

In Christian theology, good works, or simply works, are a person’s (exterior) actions or deeds, in contrast to inner qualities such as grace or faith.


Chad was full of good works. In our conversation he gave us 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 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!

What Does the Bible Say About Good Works and Salvation?

The Bible tells us that there are 3 good reasons why doing good works will not save you from hell. And neither will good works grant anyone entrance into Heaven.  Be sure to pay close attention to each of these Bible verses about good works and salvation.

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


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 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 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 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.

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!

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…

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 meaning…

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 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!


Bible Verses About Good Works Not Getting You to Heaven

Good works according to the Bible will never save anyone from hell.

As we have seen, salvation is by 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 meJohn 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. We 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 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

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. 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! 💗