Why do so many “Christians” believe they are saved by good works? Is it because of pride in human efforts?
The most common answer to the question, “Why should God let you into Heaven when you die?” is “Well I’ve tried to be a good person.” Many people from denominational backgrounds believe that because it’s what they’ve been taught. A generation of main line protestant seminary graduates has never given a single sermon on the need to be born again, because they don’t believe it’s necessary. They’ve taught their congregations that joining the church and being a good person is all they need to do.
On the other end of the spectrum are the fundamentalists who believe you can lose your salvation if you don’t add good works to what the Lord did for you. Some believe He only began the work of our salvation and it’s up to us to complete it. Others believe He did the whole job but we can undo it by misbehaving. The pastors in some of these churches dictate how women should look and dress, and have long lists of things people shouldn’t do, threatening the loss of salvation for those who disobey.
So whether they’re liberal or conservative a lot of Christians think it’s our behavior that will eventually determine whether we go to heaven, not the Lord’s death on our behalf.
The Bible says our faith is what saves us, faith that the Lord did everything because we can’t do anything where salvation is concerned except to ask for it.
If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (Romans 10:9-10).