Many people mistakenly believe that if they are generally good, and at that if at the end of their lives the amount of good outweighs the amount of bad, then a good God would not judge them harshly, but would instead throw open the gates of heaven, welcoming them home. This notion is of course refuted in scripture, probably most clearly in Romans 3:23, where we are clearly told that all of us have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. But that begs the question - What if you had never sinned? What if you were able to live a perfectly holy life? Would God automatically have to say, "Well, in this case the good really does outweigh the bad, so I guess I have to let him in."?
While many of us might initially say yes, I think not so much. We know that sin condemns humans to an eternity separated from God and that apart from belief in Jesus as the Messiah there is no hope of our being eligible for entry into heaven. We also know from the Bible (Romans 5:12) that in Adam all have sinned, meaning that all humans carry the guilt of the sin of Adam. That means that the Bible can rightly say that ALL of us have fallen short of the glory of God.
So, while morality and service to others are Christian virtues, being good is simply not going to cut it before the judgment seat of God. It is absolutely impossible to approach God righteously apart from the covering of Christ's sacrifice on the cross. So if you find yourself depending on God's love for you coupled with your own efforts to be good, you might not be in as good a shape as you think. But there is hope. Now is the time to come to faith in Jesus, the only One who can make us perfectly righteous in the sight of God.
Enjoy this related excerpt from my novel, Paradise:
Chester could see that Brock was listening closely so he continued, “We put so much value on the time we live in this temporal world, rarely giving thought to the fact that the only reason we even experience it is because God is merciful enough to give us a lifetime to decide whether we love and trust him or not.”
“So what you’re saying is that this is all a dress rehearsal?” Brock asked.
“A dress rehearsal, no. Just a precursory state in an ongoing existence.” Chester said. “We live and develop loyalties in this life. Some of us are loyal to God and his intentions. Others chose loyalty to their own selfish whims and desires.
“Loyalties do not change just because we go from one place to another, right? Neither do our loyalties change just because we step from the temporal world into the eternal. We live our lives, determining where our loyalties lie and we carry those loyalties through death into eternity, setting the course for the existence we will experience there.”
“You mean Heaven or Hell, right?” Brock asked.
“See, I simply cannot buy that.” Brock said, shaking his head.
“Well, no one can make you believe it, Mr. Thompson.” Chester said. “And I sure won’t try to make you believe anything. The only thing I would ask you to do is to be honest with yourself.”
“About what?” Brock asked.
“About the real reasons you don’t buy it, as you say.” Chester said. “I do not doubt that you have what you think are solid, logical, well-grounded reasons for not believing in God. But I think there is really only one real reason, and that’s what you have to confront.”
“Okay, I’ll bite. What’s the real reason I don’t believe?” Brock asked.
“You have to ask yourself if you want to believe, Mr. Thompson.” Chester said. “What you have to ask yourself is if you choose to not believe in God because of how it would interfere with your life.
“See, the Bible says that everyone has the knowledge of God written within them. We all have a natural inclination to believe in something bigger than ourselves because the knowledge of God is built into us and because he has revealed himself in everything around us.
“But, many of us choose not to believe in him, constructing all kinds of reasons not to because it would mean we would be subject to His will rather than our own. Many of us are too selfish to let go of our own will.” -- Paradise, p 372-373