Why Good Works Cannot Save You, Easily Explained! :: By David Cogburn

Every religion of the world has some form of “good works” to perform to be able to enter into heaven.  Why is that?

It’s because, after sin entered into the world following Adam’s fall, there was a paradigm shift in how things operate with God. First and foremost, sin separated us from God. He is now invisible to us, and we are not living in His Presence. Second, God is not taking care of each person’s “every need” as He does inside eternity in heaven. All people now have to fend for ourselves in terms of meeting our every need; thus, it makes perfect sense that when we do good “things or deeds” for other people, that those are good things that God appreciates and enjoys. It is showing “love” to others by putting them ahead of ourselves. And because of this, all religions falsely assume good works is what will get people into heaven.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Here is the truth: Gen 3:15 points out that, because of Adam’s fall, our sin nature is now passed down to us all through the “seed” of man, meaning every human being who has had a human father is born “spiritually DEAD” with a sin nature. Jesus is the only human being to ever be born without a human father but had God as His Father; thus, no sin nature.

Another word for spiritual is eternal. Every person is born spiritually and eternally DEAD. And the sad news for all religions is there is NOTHING anyone can do to change themselves from being spiritually dead to being spiritually ALIVE – NOTHING! You could be a Mother Theresa a million times over, and with all of those wonderful deeds of serving humanity, you would still be spiritually dead; thus, your good deeds do not mean a thing when it comes to being spiritually ALIVE. And spiritually dead only becomes “eternally” dead when you enter eternity at death.

WOW, this sounds terrible. If we cannot do anything to make ourselves spiritually alive, how is it possible to be saved?

And the answer is simple – LOVE. Someone greater than ourselves will have to do it for us, and that Someone is obviously God. God is love, and the greatest act of love is to sacrifice your life in order to save the life of someone else. And this is exactly what God has done through His Son, Jesus Christ, to die Himself on a cross and sacrifice His life in order to save the lives of all of us and to change us from being spiritually dead to being spiritually alive.

God is not only a God of love but is also a God of justice. The Bible tells us the wages of sin is death, and that applies to every unforgiven sin and also to every forgiven sin – always a death. Spiritually dead people pay the eternal death penalty when they die with their unforgiven sins. Spiritually alive people enter heaven with God for eternity with “forgiven sins” because Jesus paid their sin debt with His “death” on the cross.

God has given the lost human race the gift of TIME in order to come to know Him through His Son, Jesus, and to change from being spiritually dead to being spiritually alive. As long as we are alive on earth, we always have “time” to come to know God through Christ. We are eternally dead ONLY when our “time” has run out and we die and then enter eternity with our sins. What happens in eternity “stays” in eternity. For those who accept Christ, we are now spiritually ALIVE because we receive God’s Holy Spirit in us when we repent and ask Jesus to come into our lives and save us and be our Lord and Savior. There is no ALIVE Holy Spirit inside spiritually dead people.

So, is this starting to make sense now?

Salvation is simply changing from being spiritually dead to being spiritually alive, and “only God” can do this for us. Good deeds alone not saving us does not seem fair to the “world,” and why should it? The Bible says the things of God are foolishness to the world, and this is why evangelism is so important. And do not get me wrong – God LOVES good deeds. But they mean a lot more and even earn eternal rewards when they are done by spiritually alive people for the purpose of pleasing God and serving Him for all He has done to create us and to save us from our spiritually dead selves.

It’s a shame that all religions of the world do not get the one eternal truth – sin separates us from God now and forever, and eternity is the last and final ANSWER to the sin question. People either “enter” eternity at death with sin – unforgiven sin – and spend eternity separated from God in hell or they enter eternity with no sin – forgiven sin – through Christ and spend eternity with God in heaven and during Jesus’ coming millennial reign on Earth, until we transfer to the new eternal heavens and earth following Jesus’ 1,000-year millennial reign.


David Cogburn