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Don Stewart :: Can a Person Please God by Being Good?

Don Stewart

Many people feel they have lived a life that will be good enough to get them to heaven. Since their life has been characterized by a certain degree of morality they assume God will accept them. But the Bible states otherwise. None of us, no matter how good we have been, are able to stand before God.

As it is written: there is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God (Romans 3:10).

Paul says that all have sinned.

For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

Sin has its consequences.

For the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

There are many moral and upright people in the world who contribute much to the common good. But the Bible says that no matter how good someone is, no person is good enough to meet God's perfect standard.

We Are Measured By God

The Scriptures teach that man is not to be measured by man but by God. When the creature is measured by the Creator he is found wanting. The psalmist said:

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully (Psalm 24:3,4).

The Apostle Paul wrote:

But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe (Galatians 3:22).

None of us is in a position to please God by our own goodness. We need God's help to become part of God's family. God has provided that help in the person of Jesus Christ. Salvation is something that is from the Lord and Him alone. The prophet Jonah wrote.

Salvation is of the Lord (Jonah 2:10).

We Can Know Certain Things About God

Jesus came to earth that we might know what God is like and what He requires of us. When His disciples asked Jesus Christ about doing works that would please God, he made it clear what God wanted from humankind.

Then they said to him, what shall we do, that we may work the works of God? Jesus answered and said to them, 'This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent' (John 6:28,29).

The Bible is clear that we must put our faith in Christ as God's provision for our salvation. Jesus' death on the cross of Calvary paid the penalty for our sin. We must accept that sacrifice by faith.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

Salvation Is A Free Gift

There is nothing any of us can do to earn eternal life-it is a free gift of God.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8,9).

We Have A Choice To Believe Or Not To Believe

God has done everything He can. The only thing stopping an individual from receiving eternal life is his or her own will. Each of us must choose whether we accept of reject God's gift.

There Is Judgment For Those Who Do Not Believe

Those who reject the gift of salvation will spend eternity apart from God and His presence. Though the unbelievers will exist eternally they will receive the judgment of God, not His blessings.

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son (John 3:18).

One of the offers that God makes to humanity is the gift of eternal life. God's promise of eternal life includes living forever in God's presence in a loving relationship with Him. Jesus defined what it means to receive eternal life:

And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent (John 17:3).

The Death Of Christ Makes Salvation Possible

The reason God can offer this eternal relationship between Himself and the believer is because of the death of Christ. Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world. He died as our substitute taking the punishment we deserved for our sins. He offers eternal life to everyone who accepts His sacrifice by faith. The requirement is belief in Jesus Christ. The Bible says,

He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him (John 3:36).

Paul wrote

That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation (Romans 10:9,10).

Summary

It is impossible to please God by our good works. God does not measure us by each other - his standard is Jesus Christ. Unless we measure up to him we will not be able to enter the kingdom of heaven. This is why Christ came to earth. He did what each of us could not do - live a life pleasing to God. Consequently faith in Christ is the only way a person can please God and enter into heaven. Our good works alone will never be sufficient.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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