Is being a good person enough to be saved?
Does religion make you a good person?
It is a common misconception that "religion" makes people be "good", or "being a good person" will get you into Heaven. However, this directly contradicts the words of Jesus and the entire point of His teaching. See John 14:6:
"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me"
Jesus did not say, "Go to church every Sunday and be nice to small animals, and you will be let in the Pearly Gates". Jesus attacked those who believed good works ("being a good person") would allow one into Heaven. See Romans 10:9:
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved"Â
Once a person has accepted Jesus, the Holy Spirit descends into that person. It is the work of the Holy Spirit in the person which leads one to do good things, but again, it is not required to do good works to be saved. Only belief in the resurrection of Jesus, only faith, is required.
I make this point because Susan's rebuttal of my essay focused on the flawed idea of "being a good person is enough" and "religion doesn't make you good". It is not suggested in the Bible that "religion" will make you a good person...See King David, for a prime example! Or Jacob, the whose name means "trickster", and who fills chapters of the Bible with his lies and schemes.
The point of belief is Jesus is not to "make you a good person". The point of belief in Jesus is to be saved from everlasting torment in Hell. It is not about the now. It is about the future. It is about the Resurrection, the Enemy, and having the shield of the Lord for protection.
I understand this may be hard for the "un-churched" to understand. Christianity is a much more complicated theology than many want it to be (especially those who criticise it). To make a discussion about Christianity about "you don't need religion to be a good person" is to discuss a straw man. That is not the purpose of the faith. That was never the argument in the first place.
When I pray for Jesus to enter someone's heart, I do this so a seed may be planted that will one day grow into a quest for the truth about Him and the faith. As far as prayer requiring a two-way street of a pray-er and a prayer-ee, that is patently ridiculous. Prayers are received by God, not by the person being prayed about. Study after study has shown the power of prayer in health and welfare, even when the recipient did not know they were being prayed for.Â It is not a mental connection between two people, but rather a heartfelt request being made of a loving Father by a child. This is why, as I said in my original essay, the belief of the prayer-ee is not required...in fact, I may be praying for you to believe. I'm not praying you be a good person (though that would be nice) and I'm not praying you do good works (ditto). I'm praying the power of faith make its way to your heart.
Originally posted: 2012-JAN-15
Latest update: 2012-JAN-15
Author: Kathy LaPan