Before reading this article, you will need to ask yourself a question: Do you believe what the Bible teaches? If you answered No to this question, then my stance will not be accepted by the pure fact that it is based on the foundation that the Bible is the true, inspired Word of God.
The question stands: Is good behavior enough to get me to Heaven?
Many people ask this question. Some say Yes; some say No. Obviously only one can be right, but who? Well, what does the Bible say about the subject?
Ephesians 2:8-9 (New International Version) – “8. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – 9. not by works, so that no one can boast.”
So, what are these verses telling us? Let’s take this a phrase at a time:
*For it is by grace you have been saved.* – We are saved by grace. What is grace? Grace is demonstrated when we are given something we do not deserve, and by that definition in combination with the beginning statement, we may conclude that Salvation is something that is given to us that we do not deserve.
*Through Faith.* – We are saved through faith. Everyone believes in something, whether it is in a higher power, or in the chair you’re sitting in. You have faith that it will hold your weight; otherwise, you wouldn’t have sat there. But this is obviously not saying that you can obtain salvation from Hell by believing in your chair. What is it that you are supposed to believe? The most famous verse of all: John 3:16 – “16. 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.” Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He came to this world a perfect being, and paid the ultimate sacrifice (His life) so that we may have entry to Heaven. This is what you must have faith in, in order to obtain the salvation we do not deserve.
*And this not from yourselves* – This statement is merely saying, we cannot give ourselves (or anyone else for that matter)salvation.
*It is the gift of God* – God’s gift is salvation, but like all gifts, they are only offered. You can only receive a Christmas gift if you take it from the person giving it to you. It’s the same with this gift. God does not force us to accept that Jesus is the way to Heaven, but salvation can only be received if we do accept it.
*Not by works* – The previous two statements were inserted for additional information, just as in a fictional novel, and picks right back up with this phrase. If we ignored the previous two, it would read, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, not by works, so that no one can boast.” Undeserved Salvation is only acquired by faith in Jesus and what He’s done, not of works, not of anything we’ve done.
*So that no one can boast.* – This is the glue that holds everything together. I remember a sermon my pastor once spoke, and it just hit me how important this line was. When all the saved are in Heaven, can you imagine each one of us speaking to the other and asking, “What did YOU do to get here? Well, I gave $100,000 to charity.” The Bible plainly teaches to humble ourselves, not be prideful. In addition, some of us may not have that kind of money to give to charity, and many of us may falter and not even WANT to relinquish that much money.
It makes sense, doesn’t it? It’s only fair that we all get to Heaven by the same standards because we are individuals with different strengths and weaknesses. Personally, I’m very thankful it is not my good behavior that gets us to Heaven. I’ve failed miserably, and every step I would try to take, I’d fall two steps behind.