Is It Enough To Lead A Good Moral Life To Go To Heaven?
Let us begin our article by thinking about the scene of the older son in Christ’s parable of the Prodigal Son who was furiously saying…
“Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends” (Luke 15:29)
Now, let’s contemplate his expressions… “I’ve been slaving for you” and “never disobeyed you” … such an unfair father, right? How can someone be so loyal, so good and just… so perfect and not being “appreciated enough” by his father … Simply, this is the ultimate debate of is it enough to be good to go to heaven? But before we dive into the topic, let us state a few biblical truths that the church had believed in and lived with for 2,000 years now.
First, the question of who gets saved and who doesn’t isn’t ours to answer, it is God’s simply because He created the universe, and He alone judges humans: “the Father judges no one, but has assigned all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22).
Second, the Bible states that the “absolute goodness” just doesn’t exist. “They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one” (Romans 3:12). So people may appear as “righteous” or “flawless” yet they are not that good and they would still need salvation “for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Third, the will of God is made crystal-clear in the Bible which states that “God wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). So it is in God’s heart to save the people He created because simply He loves them.
With that being set, let us tackle the most celebrated points of view that support the claim that “yes being good is actually enough to go to heaven.”
Claim: Some religions like “Hinduism” and “Buddhism” and others call for highly ethical and extremely virtuous behaviors that many people label as “good behaviors” or “spiritual” ones such as yoga and other forms of meditation. Wouldn’t such spirituality lead to salvation?
Response: Let us be honest and say that many of these “spiritual” acts like meditation look similar to meditation in Christianity and are practiced to refine one’s behavior. Yet, they do not lead to heaven as these practices totally exclude the name of Lord Jesus and the necessary faith in Him to be saved. Such meditations are done outside of Him and as the bible says in Romans 10:13 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”. So, any of these practices should include faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior in order for it to help us be good or lead us to heaven. This claim is also defective as these so-called “spiritual practices” do not work on strengthening the faith in the first place as it is essential for entering heaven as explained in Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him”.
Claim: The relationship between a person and God is a private one, it is kind of secretive, and it’s definitely not for us to judge
Response: Let us observe the term that the Bible uses which is “Inherit the kingdom of God” in 1 Corinthians 6:10 and the story of Noah in “But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.” This notion of “kingdom of God” and the story of Noah explain the concept of heaven not just as a private matter. It is given through belonging to the Father through a solid relationship between God and man and not a secretive one. It involves one’s worshiping of God with his/her family in church.
Claim : Jesus Himself didn’t reach out to all people, some heard of Him and others simply did not. The same thing applies for modern/current times. Many people do not know who Jesus is so it’s certainly unfair for these people to be doomed. [Text Wrapping Break]
Response: God is a fair and a loving Father, He asserted in the Bible that “Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness” (Acts 14:17). His love and delight for man to be saved is reflected in so many shapes and forms. God sends His people, and sometimes angels, as in the case of Lot, and sometimes He Himself appears to people, as in the case of St. Paul just to show people who seek Him the Truth and save them as in John 18:37 “Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice”. So the idea of God just forgetting about His Beloved people, the people He created is just not the case.
At last, let us finalize our article with the claim by St. John the Baptist that “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).