There are a number of religious groups who believe we get to heaven due to our own good works - at least in part. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - the Mormon Church - is one of them.
Can you imagine it? Spending eternity with people, ALL of whom got to heaven because of what they had done.
"Oh yes! Well of course, when I was on earth I kept all God's commandments. I prayed regularly, never missed church, and as for giving to the poor - well! If I had kept that money for myself I would have been very well off. But it was my duty.
Of course there were other things I did. Did you know it was me who started the charity which helps.......etc etc. ad nauseam.........."
Answer this question. How long would Paradise - by which I mean Heaven (Rev. 2:7) - remain Paradise if anyone there could boast like that? Not too long!
God's Word, the Bible, is very clear about this subject. It declares that nobody gets to heaven because of anything they have done - no matter how good their works during this life.
The Bible tells us that God considers all our good works to be as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).
Throughout the New Testament we are told, over and over, that we are saved by faith.
"Ah, yes!" says the Mormon "We are saved by faith after all we can do."
But that is not what is taught in the Bible, in fact the Bible rules that out. We read in Romans 11:6:
"And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace.
"But if it be of works, then is it no more of grace: otherwise work is no more work."
We are saved through faith in Christ by the grace of God. Our works have no bearing on our salvation, they cannot, because as we have just read, grace and works are mutually exclusive, they rule each other out. Each renders the other invalid.
Why does God take no account of our good deeds? For the very reason mentioned above, boasting!
In Ephesians we read:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, LEST ANY MAN SHOULD BOAST. Ephesians 2:8, 9God wants Paradise to remain Paradise!
Not one person who gets to heaven can boast, or claim any of the credit for having got there. All the credit belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ, not just some of the credit - not just that which remains: "... after all we can do."
Nobody in Heaven will be able to say: "I did it! I made it here through my own works. Oh sure! Christ had a hand in it, but if it were not for my good works I would not be here." No! God has ruled that out.
A major problem with Mormons is this: they do not see themselves as sinners. They are nurtured in a church which depicts itself as "squeaky clean", anything which might soil this image is quietly put away and forgotten, even to the extent of changing its own history.
They see themselves as "Gods in embryo". How could they possibly be sinners?
Before they can be helped, alcoholics and drug addicts must face the fact that they have an addiction. You cannot treat an alcoholic who does not believe that he is an alcoholic - and you cannot convince a Mormon that he is a sinner when he sees himself as an embryonic god.
Understand this. We are ALL sinners, the Bible says:
"Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Psalm 51:5)That includes you - whoever you are - no matter what good deeds you have done.
"All have sinned" (Romans 3:23 & 5:12)
Mankind puts sin into different categories. For example, we consider murder to be worse than theft. But to God it makes no difference - sin is sin!
No matter how small you consider a sin to be it means you have broken God's law and are judged a sinner. You are in the same boat as a person who has committed murder (James 2:10)
and you cannot get rid of that sin however hard you work at it, only Christ can remove your sin because He has already paid the price for it.For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
However, Christ's blood only covers the sin of sinners who are saved, born again - by which I mean, only those sinners who have repented of their sin and accepted Christ as their personal Saviour by asking Him into their heart.
They remain sinners, but they are sinners saved by grace - God's undeserved mercy:
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us." (Titus 3:5)
Good Tidings Ministry.