Don’t Good Guys Go to Heaven?
In order to answer this we must first determine who the “good guys” are. The natural answer for each of us is that the good guys are made up of our friends and family. The corollary is that the bad guys are also the people that we individually determine are bad in our sole judgment. Typically that is the person who has offended us or lied to us or cheated us. At the end of the day the net result of all this “judging” is that we have set ourselves up as judge, jury, and executioner. GET REAL, who are we to make judgments about who is good? The truth is I don’t really know squat about who a person really is or what their potential is. Jesus told His audience that God alone is truly good (Mark 10:18)
Out of the eleven most followed religions, ten of the religions teach salvation by good deeds or by works done, or by some formula men have come up with to try and judge people by, to measure if they merit salvation. Christianity is alone in teaching salvation based on the grace of God instead of works. These ten systems of works based salvation have some major problems. First, they are arbitrary. Who determines which standard to follow? Is the Ten Commandments the best, or the Five Pillars of Islam, or the Eight Fold Path of Hindu? What really is good enough to get man to heaven? Most Americans would go with the Ten Commandments. Take my word for it or study them closely yourself—none of your so-called “good guys” have ever been able to keep the Ten Commandments. Who among you has never lied? Who among you has never desired something that wasn’t theirs? Most people will respond, “Well all you need to do is your best”. In a recent poll, the question was asked, “Do you do your best 100% of the time?” No one responded yes, so here we go again being arbitrary and setting ourselves up again as the judge.
Do you really believe that God grades on the curve? Does He compare us to others? If so then who is the standard, you? Maybe you will be humble enough to say no, and then come up with someone like Mother Theresa. Sorry, in her autobiography she confessed that she was a sinner in need of the grace of God. As I think of some of the heroes in the Bible that I think are great guys, I come up with David, except he was a liar, adulterer, and a murderer; or Peter, but he was a liar and a coward. How about Paul who wrote half the New Testament, but he also was a murderer. Let me end this “relative righteousness” idea by asking you the question—Are you really a better person than David, Solomon, Daniel, Peter, and Paul? GET REAL, in God’s eyes there are no “good guys”.
Any system that is based on relative righteousness demands that God accept far less than perfection. In fact it demands that God allow some evil into heaven, therefore you are asking God to approve of evil in Heaven. If God were to allow some evil into heaven, then heaven would not be perfect. The Bible is clear that this is unacceptable. God’s standard is repeated throughout Scripture, “You must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt.5:48, Lev.19:2, Isa.59:2). The Scriptures clearly teach that salvation by works is impossible. The only way we can become acceptable to God is through the atoning work of God’s Son on the cross. God cannot overlook sin, so He has provided the ultimate payment for our sin, the death of a perfect sinless Savior, the perfect substitute for you and me.
The whole human originated works system that people have come up with over the years is rooted in the very subtle sin of pride. It is the sin we most hate in others but never see in ourselves. Pride went before the fall, and it continues to keep people away from God’s grace. By saying “good guys” (like me) go to heaven, I am seeking to give credit to myself. By comparing myself to others that I judge to be bad, I elevate myself above them in my sole judgment, but Paul wrote to a prideful group in Corinth, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord; for not he who commends himself is approved, but he whom the Lord commends” (2 Cor.10:17-18)
Let’s just say for arguing purposes that God does set some standard acceptable to Him of goodness for us to achieve. It would be the same as lining us all up on the beach in California, and saying that we must swim to Hawaii. Some would drown after 300 yards, some would make it a mile or two or 50, but all would fall short. This is what Romans 3:23 says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. In spite of our falling short, God loves us, and therefore has provided the means by which we can pay the penalty of sin as John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” God’s absolute justice demands that sin be paid for, and God’s Son has paid for it. But we can’t have it both ways. We can’t shake our fist in pride and boast that I am a good guy, and receive Jesus’ pardon at the same time.