Can I be saved by simply being a good person?
If God is going to save someone because they had lived a morally good life, then the plan of salvation is no longer valid and there is therefore no more need for God’s grace. If this idea is true, then our salvation is based on works, not grace. This way of thinking demands that God will look at our lives and base His decision of our salvation on whether we have been more good than we’ve been bad. Why then did Jesus die on the cross? Man could have been saved without Jesus simply by being a good person. The problem is that no matter how good we may be, we have all still sinned (Romans 3:23), nor can our good life be equivalent to righteousness (Romans 3:10). We must put on righteousness to be found right in God’s eyes. And this demands that our sins be forgiven. Forgiveness is not based on living a morally good life, but rather on living by faith that the blood of Jesus will save us if we trust and obey Him.
In the bible, we have an example of a good person named Cornelius. Acts 10:2 tells us that he was “a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.” But we learn that he was not saved by all of that. In Acts 10:5-6, he is told by God to go get a man named Simon and that Simon would tell him what he must do. In Acts 11:14, we understand that what Simon was to tell him were the “words by which you and all your household will be saved.” Before, Cornelius was a very good person, but he was still a lost person. After he heard the words that Simon brought to him in order to be saved, he and his household were all baptized for the forgiveness of their sins, according to Acts 10:48.
Isn’t the church of Christ the group that believes they’re the only ones going to heaven?
This question only comes up when the church is viewed from a denominational standpoint, otherwise, the question is invalid. Because, looking at the church in the bible, we can quickly see that the only ones going to heaven are those whom God Himself adds to the church. Consider Acts 2:47, where it is written: “And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” Becoming a member of any local church does not mean you are saved. And for the sake of the original question, I think there will be some who sit in the pews of churches with the sign out front that says “church of Christ” that will not go to heaven. Why is that? Because, from man’s perspective, we may be considered a member of the church, but if Christ hasn’t added us to His church, then we are not saved. The next question would be: how can we be added by Christ to His church? Let’s look again at the text of Act 2:47, “the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” So, it is only those who were being saved that the Lord added to the church. But how were they being saved? Let’s look back to an earlier part of the text: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.’ Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” (Act 2:36-38). So then, it becomes clear that God saves those who heed His commandments, to walk away from a sinful life and bury our sins in the water of baptism where we will receive remission of our sins by the working of God. According to God, these are the only ones who are added to the church, and everyone that God adds to the church will go to heaven. But we are not completely secure yet! We must continue following Christ’s words in order to remain a member of His church and be saved in the end. Consider what Paul said in Colossians 1:21-23, “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.”
Article by Tanner Campbell.