Am I good enough for heaven?

From the time that most of us are small, we learn if we behave well, that we are rewarded. Therefore, it’s no surprise that many people believe they can earn their way into God’s heaven by being good. However, the Bible teaches that all of our best attempts at being good are not enough to measure up to God’s standard of holiness—nor are they enough to earn us admission into heaven.

Moses, who knew God well, describes God as glorious, faithful, just, perfect in all he does (see Deuteronomy 32:3-4 in the Bible). In contrast, the Bible also shows that we are sinful (imperfect) and even our best efforts can never measure up to God’s standard of perfect holiness and goodness—or get us in to heaven. In fact, Isaiah 64:6 says, “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags.”

Maybe you’re still not convinced that even if we follow God’s laws that we can’t earn our way to heaven—even if we try our best to follow God’s laws. That’s because is not only difficult for a human being to perfectly follow God’s laws—it is impossible.

When Jesus quoted the Ten Commandments, which are God’s basic list of moral laws for humanity, he reveals his high standards for our behavior, such as: don’t commit murder or have sexual relations with someone else’s spouse. No problem, right?

Surprisingly, that’s because good outward behavior isn’t all God expects. He also wants our attitudes and heart motives to be consistent with his standard for holiness. For example, Jesus says that not only is it wrong to murder someone but that even hating someone in your heart is a violation of God’s law against murder (Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28; see Deuteronomy 5:6-21). And, not only is it forbidden to have sex with someone else’s mate, but it’s also wrong to sexually desire someone that person in your heart.

Jesus also says that we should love our neighbors and pray for those who persecute us. “In that way," he says, “you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven... .If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that" (Matthew 5:43-45a, 47).

So you can see how not only perfect outward behavior is required by God, but perfect heart attitudes as well, which are his highest standard (Matthew 5:48). No wonder that we can’t meet up to God’s standards for entrance into heaven. No one always thinks, or feels, or acts perfectly like God.

You can certainly live what you may consider a good life, but it’s impossible to establish a relationship with God and earn your way to heaven based on good behavior or because of a good heart.

Perhaps by now you're wondering, If my good behavior and right heart attitudes aren’t enough to get me into heaven, what is? Thankfully, God has provided the answer for us in His son, Jesus Christ.

If you would like to learn more about how to become God’s child and be promised entrance into heaven, see “Can I know God personally?"