Isn’t it enough to live a good and moral life?

Our salvation—our acceptance before God—is received entirely on the basis of God’s mercy, not on the basis of our good deeds. To bypass God’s offer of salvation through Christ and to place our trust in our own good works is to totally miss it! So does moral living have any value at all? Of course it does. But it can never save us! The strong and clear message of the Bible is that salvation comes through Christ alone

Frequent Questions about Christianity — March 29, 2018

Many of us are inclined to look at the lives of other people—people who model kindness, benevolence, tolerance, compassion—and say to ourselves, “That’s the kind of life that that will ensure a place in heaven.” Our world places a high value on deeds of kindness and selflessness, and rightly so. We are conditioned to think of our own lives in terms of what we have done for, or how much we’ve given to, people in need. Or we often justify ourselves by thinking, “I’m not prejudiced.” Or “I treat people fairly.” Or “I’m an honest person.”

The unfortunate truth is, however, that no matter how hard we try, and no matter how much we’ve done for others, we can never measure up to God’s standard of “goodness.” The Bible states simply, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) In other words, everyone has failed to meet God’s standard of holiness. That includes all those who try to follow the path of kindness and integrity. Here’s how the Bible puts it: “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” (Titus 3:5) Our salvation—our acceptance before God—is received entirely on the basis of God’s mercy, not on the basis of our good deeds. To bypass God’s offer of salvation through Christ and to place our trust in our own good works is to totally miss it!

Here’s how one writer explains it:

This all comes down to one basic question: If it is possible for you and me to attain salvation by simply living a good life, why was it necessary for Jesus to endure the excruciating agony of the cross? Why didn’t he simply lay down a few guidelines, tell us to do our best and . . .? Because Jesus knew it would take more than guidelines to redeem us.

But God has worked his way to us in Jesus Christ. The punishment we deserve, justly deserve, was suffered by him. The only way we can be “good” is if we partake of Jesus’ goodness which, fortunately, he wants us to have.2

So does moral living have any value at all? Of course it does. But it can never save us! The strong and clear message of the Bible is that salvation comes through Christ alone. We simply have to acknowledge that we are sinners, believe in Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice and receive his forgiveness!


More Frequent Questions about Christianity

Who is Jesus Christ?

There is overwhelming evidence that Jesus Christ has had a marked influence in the history of our world. His existence has impacted our calendar, our culture, our judicial system, our social structures, our educational systems and our belief systems. No one individual has made such a mark on the story of humanity. So the question, "Who is Jesus Christ?" is a question of great significance. Read more...

Will God really forgive me?

All you need to do to be forgiven is to confess your sins to God. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1: 9) As you face the reality of your own guilt for past wrongs, dwell, not on the greatness of your sins, but on the greatness of Christ's power to forgive! We cannot save ourselves, but He can. Read more...

Is there just one way to God?

As cultural and religious pluralism increase, so does exposure to a wide variety of beliefs and practices. In this climate, it is hard to imagine that only one religion or one set of beliefs or practices is right. It seems to exclude so many people. So, how can Christians believe that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life? Doesn't this leave out many who sincerely believe differently or who grow up in places where they don't even know about Jesus? Read more...

“Isn’t religion just a psychological crutch?”

“Islam and Christianity: Is it the same God?”

“Isn’t faith just for the stupid and gullible?”

“What does it really mean to be human?”

“Why is the Bible against sexual freedom?”

“Is it arrogant to claim you have ‘the truth’?”

“Why choose Jesus and not Buddha or Muhammad?”

“Prove to me that God exists!”

“How can you believe in God without evidence?”

“Is atheism a religion?”