When I was a youth ministry leader, there was one thing I hoped to get across to my students – being a “good” person will not get them into heaven and being a “bad” person will not keep them out of heaven. Believing in Jesus Christ is the only requirement for entrance into heaven.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16 NIV
Eternal life comes from believing in the completed work of Jesus on the cross. Good works or being nice or even attempting to follow all God’s commandments is certainly impressive, but not criteria for a heavenly ending.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV
So, if good works won’t get me into heaven, why do I have to love others? Why do I have to be kind? Why can’t I say everything on my mind?
If we believe in Jesus like we say we do, our faith will push us, and the Holy Spirit will lead us, to doing good works.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.Ephesians 2:10 NIV
When we get it wrong, that doesn’t erase our names out of the Book of Life. Instead, we can repent sincerely and keep running the race we were called to run in faith (Hebrews 12:1-3, 2 Timothy 4:7, Philippians 3:13-14)
I am the way, the truth and the light. No one comes to the Father except through me.John 14:6 ESV