“She is such a good person.” “He is always doing something to help other people.” “I have never heard a bad word come out of his mouth, and I have never heard anyone say anything bad about him.” “If my auntie does not make it to heaven, then I do not see how anyone possibly could. She was such a very kind person.”
These and similar comments are often made about people that most folks would consider to be “good moral people.” No one can please the God of heaven without living by His moral code of conduct. God instructs us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts (Titus 2:12). Since the works of the flesh will prevent a person from inheriting the kingdom of God, it is obvious that God wants people to avoid such conduct (Galatians 5:19-21). It is also a fact that God wants us to treat others in a good way. The Bible says, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm to a neighbor” (Romans 13:9,10). Does that mean, though, that every person who might be called “a good moral person” is headed to heaven? Many people apparently think so, but such a concept is not supported by the teaching of the Bible.
Sin is the greatest problem that mankind must face. Why is that so? Because sin separates those who commit it from the Lord God (Isaiah 59:2). Therefore, man’s greatest need is to have his sins forgiven. The Bible teaches that “all unrighteousness is sin” (1 John 5:17) and “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23).
The Bible further declares, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). God grants eternal life through Jesus, not through man’s good moral living. Man’s morality could never wash away a single sin. Mankind must learn and accept this truth! Only the blood of the Lamb of God can cleanse one of his/her past sins (1 Peter 1:18,19).
In the Book of Acts, we read numerous examples of the conversion of lost people. In some cases, we read that lost people inquired about what they must do in order to be saved. Never do we read that they were told, “Just be a good moral person.” What we do read is that they were instructed to believe in Jesus, repent of their sins, confess their faith in Jesus as God’s Son, and be immersed for the remission of sins (Acts 2:37,38; 8:35-39; 16:30-33; 22:10,16).
It is simply untrue to claim that the Bible teaches that being a good moral person “is good enough to get you into heaven.” Friends, while God wants His children to be “zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14), those good works have no power to remove a person’s transgressions. At the same time, abstaining from unlawful deeds, while such abstinence is required by the Almighty, could never cause one to be delivered out of the power of darkness into the Christ and His kingdom (Colossians 1:13,14).
Jesus is “the author of eternal salvation to all who obey him” (Hebrews 5:9). To whom does the Christ offer salvation? Not to all “good moral people,” but rather only to those “who obey him.” While the world would surely be a lot better off if there were more good moral people in it, it is also true that those who do not obey the gospel of the Lord Jesus, regardless of their good morality, “shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:8,9).
Why do you suppose so many people accept the idea that all moral people will be granted entrance into heaven? Some probably buy into this false notion simply because they have heard others say it, and they just repeat it. Perhaps others accept it because they consider it to be more convenient or less demanding than what the Bible teaches.
Regardless of what people might believe, including sincere religious folks, the bottom line is this: according to the Bible, no, not all good moral people will go to heaven.
— Roger D. Campbell
TRUTH is published monthly by the Klang church of Christ in order to help educate, edify, encourage, and equip the saints of God.