In past posts, I’ve established that the Bible says that people who refuse to repent and ask Christ to save them are bound for hell. I’ve also established that we can’t go to heaven on our own merits since no person is without sin. Even so, some folks seem to have lived such righteous lives that they ought to be in heaven after they die.
The Pharisees appeared likely candidates for Heaven. According to their outward show of piety, they must have seemed like extremely holy people to the general public of Christ’s day.
But Jesus wasn’t fooled by their outward religiosity. Look at the parable he gave them in Luke 18:9-15. Here’s how the Bible in Basic English renders the story:
9 And he made this story for some people who were certain that they were good, and had a low opinion of others:
10 Two men went up to the Temple for prayer; one a Pharisee, and the other a tax-farmer.
11 The Pharisee, taking up his position, said to himself these words: God, I give you praise because I am not like other men, who take more than their right, who are evil-doers, who are untrue to their wives, or even like this tax-farmer.
12 Twice in the week I go without food; I give a tenth of all I have.
13 The tax-farmer, on the other hand, keeping far away, and not lifting up even his eyes to heaven, made signs of grief and said, God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
14 I say to you, This man went back to his house with God’s approval, and not the other: for everyone who makes himself high will be made low and whoever makes himself low will be made high.
Tax collectors were the most hated people in Jewish society since they worked for the occupying Roman empire and they extorted extra money for themselves. Pharisees were thought of by the public as being the most holy temple members. Jesus pointed out that it’s penitent sinners who are justified by God, not self-righteous people who place their heavenly hope in what they do.
Self-righteous attitudes are what condemn people, even ones who seem to be doing many good works. It’s the intent of their hearts which God knows and he’s not fooled by outward acts of charity.
This is why I’m writing my next book called You Think You’re Going to Heaven? No matter how laudable people’s deeds are, they’re only for show if their lives aren’t given over to serving Jesus Christ.