There once was a jail keeper who was known for his good works and righteousness. One night, he went on his rounds to find that all the doors of the cells were open, and fearing for his life that he had failed his job, ran outside to try and kill himself. Two of the prisoners were Christian missionaries. When they saw the jail keeper trying to commit suicide, they ran outside to assure him that all of the prisoners were still there. After hearing the missionaries’ explanations of hope, the jail keeper realized that even though he was fairly upright, he needed Jesus, and asked what could be done about it. Together the missionaries, whose names were Paul and Silas, answered: Believe in the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved.
Unfortunately, some believe that Paul and Silas’ last statement was a lie; that you don’t have to believe in Jesus to be saved. Henry Beecher was among them. He believed that Charitable acts are a stepping stone to heaven. What does the Bible say about getting into heaven? Jesus stated, For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whomsoever believes IN HIM shall not die but have everlasting life. Note that he doesn’t say whomsoever has power, or does good, or made something cool will have everlasting life, but BELIEVES IN HIM.
On another occasion, Jesus announced, I am THE way, and THE truth and THE life. NO ONE comes to the father except through me. There is just one truth but lots of lies – and only one way to the father.
Paul wrote to Titus in chapter three verse five: He saved us, not because of the righteous things we’ve done, but BECAUSE of his mighty mercy and through Jesus Christ his son. We all have sinned, and no matter how ‘fairly upright’ we are, we all need a saviour: Jesus Christ. Doing good is good, but doing good is not good enough for God – we need Jesus.
Honestly, there isn’t any proof outside the Bible that hints which way we should go, but if we trust the Bible we know that no charitable act will get us into heaven.
I delivered this speech today as a part of our Speak UP program.