IS BEING GOOD ENOUGH TO BE SAVED?
“I believe that as long as a person is basically good, believes in God, and doesn't bother anyone or commit any major crime, he will be saved.”
IT IS INDEED necessary to strive to be good, believe in God, live a life in harmony with others, and avoid committing crimes. But, are these enough to attain salvation? Let us examine the case of Cornelius:
“In Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, who was the captain of a group of soldiers called ’The Italian Unit.’ Cornelius was a very religious man. He worshiped God, and so did everyone else who lived in his house. He had given a lot of money to the poor and was always praying to God.” (Acts 10:1-2, Contemporary English Version)
The Bible described him as “a very religious man.” He believe in God – worshipped and prayed to God, he even do good deeds to his fellow man. By most people’s standards, Cornelius would qualify as a good person. But, is being a good person enough to be saved?
“About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, ‘Cornelius!’ And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, ‘What is it, lord?’ So he said to him, ‘Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter.” (Acts 10:3-5 NKJV)
Regarding Cornelius’ good works, the Bible said, “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.” The Bible did not said, “Your prayers and your alms are enough and you are now sure that you will be saved.” According to the Bible, his good deeds came up only as “a memorial before God.” Another version of the Bible explained what this means:
“The angel answered him, ‘God is aware of your prayers and your gifts to the poor, and he has remembered you.” (Acts 10:3-6 God’s Word)
Thus, his good works, though necessary, but would not suffice for him to be saved. God, through an angel, instructed Cornelius to send for Simon Peter, the Apostle. Why God commanded Cornelius to send for Simon Peter?
“While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, ‘Behold, three men are seeking you. Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.’ Then Peter went down to the men who had been sent to him from Cornelius, and said, ‘Yes, I am he whom you seek. For what reason have you come?’ And they said, "Cornelius the centurion, a just man, one who fears God and has a good reputation among all the nation of the Jews, was divinely instructed by a holy angel to summon you to his house, and to hear words from you.” (Acts 10:19-22 NKJV)
God instructed Cornelius to send for Peter to hear words from him. Apostle Peter preached the Gospel to Cornelius and his household. After listening and believing in the message preached by Apostle Peter, Cornelius and his household were baptized:
“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, ‘Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?’ And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.” (Acts 10:44-48 NKJV)
Take note that if good deeds are enough in order to be saved, God will not instruct Cornelius to send for Apostle Peter to preached to them the Gospel and for them to be baptized. Are these necessary for salvation? In Mark 16:15-16, the Lord Jesus Christ says:
“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:15-16 NKJV)
The Lord Jesus Christ explicitly said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized WILL BE SAVED.” Thus, to strive to be good, believe in God, live a life in harmony with others, and avoid committing crimes are necessary but not enough to attain salvation. One must also undergo these steps that the Savior, Jesus Christ, taught for people to be saved: listen to the preaching of the Gospel, believe, and be baptized.
Does this mean that we don’t need to enter the Church Of Christ in order to be saved? I Corinthians 12:13 reads:
“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body…” (I Corinthians 12:13 NKJV)
The baptism taught by the Lord Jesus Christ when He said “He who believes and is baptized will be save” is also the one referred to by Apostle Paul when he said, “we were all baptized into one body.” Thus, those who are baptized with true baptism taught by the Lord Jesus Christ are found in only one body. The body referred to is the Church:
“For a husband has authority over his wife just as Christ has authority over the church; and Christ is himself the Savior of the church, his body.” (Ephesians 5:23 TEV)
Jesus is indeed the Savior, but the Bible explicitly said that Jesus is Himself “the Savior of the church, his body.” Good deeds are necessary, but being inside the true Church, the body of Christ, is also necessary in order to be saved because the Church is the one that will be saved by the Savior, Jesus Christ. Just like in the time of Noah and the great flood, one must enter the ark Noah built in order to be saved. In our time, in order for a person to be saved, one must enter the Church the Lord Jesus Christ built, and the Bible clearly teaches us that this is the Church Of Christ:
“For just as the human body is one and yet has many parts, and all its parts, many as they are, constitute but one body, so it is with the Church of Christ.” (I Corinthians 12:12 NTME)
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