Growing up mostly in church and attending youth events in the early 2000’s, a common question that I’d hear was: “Do you know where you will spend eternity?” We were encouraged to ask others this question as well and the typical answer we would hear was “heaven of course.” However it was the answer to the follow up question, “How do you know?”, that got me thinking. Responses would range from “I don’t know” to “that’s what the Bible says”. One answer however, would always stand out to me “ Because I’m a good person”. The conversation would then continue and they would list all the good things they do like volunteering at the local shelter, giving money to the less fortunate, even teaching Sunday school, or attending church every Sunday. Some would talk about how they don’t steal, don’t really lie, and of course they never killed anyone.
But guess what? The hard truth is we aren’t good. Ever since the fall humans are born with sinful selfish natures. Romans 5:12 tells us “ Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned”. In Romans 3:10 we are told that no one is righteous, not one person! We may try to always do the right thing, but we all sin and fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23).
Human nature is to be selfish. If we look at what motivates our behaviors and routines, we do things that make us feel good and avoid things that make us uncomfortable. Our wants are mostly self-centered. People are hurting and broken, looking for something to fill the empty void they feel inside. This was not what God wanted for us, you see God originally created man in his own image (Genesis 1:27), but Adam and Eve disobeyed God. This brought about many consequences to humanity, the biggest one being the separation from God. God is holy and perfect and humanity is now broken and sinful. Nothing we can do can fix this and no number of good deeds can repair this relationship. We need a savior, a redeemer,
and we find that in Jesus Christ.
The good news is God loved us so much that he sent his one and only son to die for our sins and to make it possible for us to once again have a personal relationship with him. “ For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” We have eternal life through Christ, but we must turn away from our sins and accept Jesus as the Lord and savior of our lives. We are saved by grace and not by anything we do. All the good deeds, volunteering, kind words are wonderful and should be done, but they won’t save you from separation from God.
The next time someone says, “But I’m a good person, we need to share with them the truth of God’s word and why being “good” is just not good enough.