Do All The Good You Can
By All The Means You Can
In All The Ways You Can
In All The Places You Can
At All The Times You Can
To All The People You Can
As Long As Ever You Can
But Don’t Expect That To Get You Into Heaven
Two facts most people know but rarely think about or understand fully are:
One, we aren’t all equally sinful. Some people are excessively sinful while others are much less so. We’ll call the really bad ones the 95 percenters. Everyone else will scale somewhere between 95% and 1%. They could be 50 percenters or 30 percenters or on the odd occasion, 1 percenters. Mother Theresa types would fit in the lowest category.
The second misunderstood fact is, regardless the difference in scale, everyone is still a sinner and that makes us all equal in one respect. No one can earn or deserve heaven. No one deserves eternal life on their own merit.
We Are Equally Hopeless If Not Equally Sinful
You may be good. You may be very good. I have no doubt that most who read this are better than me. At best, I might be a 50 percenter and there are plenty of people who rank better than 50% but that in no way suggests they have a better chance of getting into heaven than I.
That isn’t my idea. The Bible actually teaches this. There are three verses that suggest every person is hopelessly sinful if not equally so.
Ecclesiastes 7:20 says, There is not a just man upon earth that does good and sins not.
Most people readily accept that statement. They know they are sinners but they don’t see that as a serious problem because they are so much better than the majority of people. Since they rank among the least sinful, they assume they must be OK.
The point that verse makes which people don’t readily see is that no matter how many merit badges you have earned – and we applaud every one of them – you still won’t get into heaven on your own.
Clean Living Effects The Present Not Eternity
You may be better off in this life because of your clean living but it will have no bearing on your entrance into the next life.
Other verses say the same thing but a little more pointedly.
James 2:10 says, Whoever obeys the whole law and yet offends in one point is guilty of all.
Isaiah 64:6 says very bluntly, All our righteousnesses (plural) are as filthy rags.
Again, people hear this and may accept it at face value but still fail to see it stark reality. Accepting an idea and fully seeing it are two different things. The less sinful may still hold onto a superior sense of self because they don’t understand that near-perfect is still miserably off target.
Let me explain.
Bad Actions Corrupt Good Ones
If I were to hand you a glass of milk with one drop of arsenic in it, would you drink it? For most people that would be a hard NO, right? Only the desperately hungry or thirsty person would be daring enough to imbibe and even then they might be hesitant.
But if you’re not convinced here’s another thought.
Would you be accepting if your married partner was faithful on 364 days of the year but unfaithful on the 365th day? We’re talking one day out of 365. That represents a negative reading of about one-fourth of one percent. That’s four times better than even a 1 percenter but very few people will find this tolerable.
They might be willing to forgive. The Bible actually commands it but even a failure on such a small scale is more than most people can live with and it’s easy to see why.
That also makes it easy to see why our sinfulness, however slight, still taints everything and will effectively prevent any person from earning or deserving heaven on your own.
Paul Plainly Said This
If you’re still not convinced, maybe the words of Paul will help. He made the following statement twice.
A little leaven leavens the whole lump. (1 Corinthians 5:6 and Galations 5:9)
The point, of course, a speck of contamination in one part sullies the whole.
You might be a mild sinner. You may be a shining example compared to the people around you but you are still a sinner and, therefore, don’t measure up. Whatever your sin is, it smears everything else you do. You can’t get away from it or beyond it on your own.
From my perspective, I applaud your good works but it won’t help much when you knock on heaven’s door. There is a solution, though. Jesus offers a full pardon for those who confess their sinfulness and call on His name (Romans 10:13).
Don’t misunderstand. I’m not accusing you of being a bad person. If you fall into the 5 percent category, bravo. We applaud that but don’t be fooled. You’re still a sinner and Jesus died as much for you as He did for all the 95 percenters out there.