“Good people who do good deeds go to heaven”
Although many individuals believe this phrase, it is not found in the Scriptures. Having a good character, doing the good deeds of philanthropists, random acts of kindness, or taking care of the homeless do not equate to receiving the reward of eternal life in the New Heaven and New Earth.
Growing up in a healthy and loving environment with boundaries and discipline most often will produce good children. Parental guidance enables children to respect themselves and other people. And they have a high probability of maturing into good, loving adults who help others and adhere to governmental laws. Still, society’s moral standards and values do not exceed God’s definition of good [excellence], which is Righteousness and Holiness. “Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, because I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 20:7).
The Highway of Separation
“And there will be a highway called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not travel it–only those who walk in the Way–and fools will not stray onto it.” (Isaiah 35:8)
Are you aware that a person with a selfish heart will plan to perform an act of kindness to receive recognition? We see the countless number of videos on social media that do not need to be posted. “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 6:1).
God Knows the True Intention of Our Hearts
“The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9), applies to all human beings. If we could judge ourselves using a merit system [developed from human standards] and inherit eternal life, then Jesus’s death would have served no purpose. So, if good people with good hearts will not automatically go to heaven, what are the chances of anyone receiving eternal life?
Acceptance, Confession, and Repentance
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6
Salvation is based on a 1:1 heart-to-heart relationship with Jesus Christ. We accept Jesus as our personal Savior through confession and repentance of sins. “I am the vine and you are the branches. The one who remains in Me, and I in him, will bear much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5).
Jesus is the only answer to living a righteous, faithful, and obedient life. Human Effort: Our daily prayer, “God, not my will but your will be done in my life. Anoint me with your Holy Spirit that I can be faithful and obedient to your plans. In Jesus’ name. Amen”
Satan’s Deception: Do good and you will receive the reward of good things
Even study of the Scriptures does not necessarily produce faith, obedience, or the Fruit of the Spirit. How is this possible? When I studied Religion in college, many self-proclaimed atheists also enrolled in the classes. Why? “Because religion is an interesting topic,” or “We study to acquire knowledge to debate with Christians or “We desire to be a good person.” Sadly, because of their professed unbelief in God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, possessing only academic knowledge of the Bible will prove worthless.
The Plan of Salvation
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'” (John 14:6)
Conversion, Transformation, and Sanctification require surrender, faith, obedience, daily praying, and studying the scriptures under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Sanctification: Daily spiritual growth and transformation of our hearts [our minds] to become like Jesus.
Does Sanctification sound complicated? Children can accept Jesus as their personal Savior. We are born with faith and trust, as evidenced by a baby who instinctively recognizes and trusts their parents or caregivers. Yes, God gives each of us a measure of faith. “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3). Trust is faith in action!
Become Like a Child
“‘Truly I tell you,’ He said, ‘unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.'” (Matthew 18:3).
As a young girl, my mother taught me that “Jesus is our Savior, He died for our sins–which is doing wrong, such as disobeying your parents, being mean, or selfish, and not telling the truth. And Jesus lives in heaven with God, His Father and the angels.” As I matured, I learned that Jesus will come again and we will live in heaven forever [however, the reward is conditional]. Still, I believed and trusted everything my mother told me was the truth, and it would happen.
The Falling Away
Satan has deceived many Christian believers by presenting righteousness as something we can easily acquire by doing good deeds. The person who accepts this false concept, Jesus says, “But since he has no root, he remains for only a season. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away.” (Matthew 13:21).
“For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking and darkened in their foolish hearts. (Romans 1:21).
By what means, then, do we determine whose side we are on?
If the heart has been renewed by the Spirit of God, the life will bear witness to the fact. While we cannot do anything to change our hearts or to bring ourselves into harmony with God; while we must not trust at all to ourselves or our good works, our lives will reveal whether the grace of God is dwelling within us. A change will be seen in the character, the habits, the pursuits. The contrast will be clear and decided between what they have been and what they are. The character is revealed, not by occasional good deeds and occasional misdeeds, but by the tendency of the habitual words and acts. EGW
If we belong to Jesus Christ, then all we have and all we are is consecrated to Him. Jesus is our ultimate role model. He met the needs of others by giving provisions, healing, raising the dead, and teaching the Scriptures. Yes, Jesus did good, which always glorified God, His Father. And by faith, which flows from our transformed hearts, we follow His example by reflecting His character through obedience and striving to attain the purity of holiness everyday–Sanctification.
Saints of the Most-High God, By the Grace of God, We Can Do This!
Be Generous and Do Good
Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:6-10)
Prayer: God, we pray for forgiveness of our sins and to be transformed into the image of Christ. Change our hearts to reflect doing good for the sake of righteousness. And we ask for the strength to be faithful and obedient. Reveal to us Your will for our lives. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.