Can Good Works Save Me?

This is a question that every person asks in hopes that being good will somehow make them right in the eyes of God. Unfortunately, there is a simple misunderstanding at work here. Here is what the Bible says about our works:

They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (Psalms 14:3)

For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not. (Ecclesiastes 7:20)

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)

The Bible tells us that our works are not good enough to be accepted by God, therefore, how can we possibly use them for a peace offering with God? What if I work in the church, sing in the choir, and teach Sunday School? Won’t that get me into heaven? Unfortunately, this too is wrong. Jesus himself mentioned those that would try to get in by their religious works. Here is what he said:

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)

Notice they did everything in his name and for his glory. They didn’t however gain his favor because he called them sinners and cast them away. The Bible does say that all who have rejected Christ will be judged at the great white throne by their works. Here is what it says:

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15)

Yes they were judged according to their works. The purpose of this trial is to determine innocent or guilt by looking at the works of the accused. Please understand our works do not determine who we are; on the contrary, they manifest what lies within us. Since “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), everyone will be found guilty as charged. Their only hope is that God will have mercy and forgive them. This can only be accomplished through accepting his son as their savior, but they rejected him when the offer was presented while they were living. Their works could not save them because everyone that “was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

If works cannot save someone, then how can they be saved? The answer is simple:

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13)

Next Page: The Cross

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