Romans 3:20 and 4:5
By Drew Zuverink
"Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God's sight by the works of the law, rather, through the law we become aware of our sin. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited to them as righteousness."
Friend, don't even for one second think that the way you live your life determines if you will go to heaven or not. The good things that you do will not save you. Even all of the sinful things that you obediently stay away from will not earn you your salvation. Paul told the people of the Roman church that no one will be declared righteous by their obedience to God's law. No one. Ever.
What actually happens is when we read the Bible, which is nicknamed, "The Law," we realize what sin is. The Bible tells us what all sorts of sins are, and when we read of them, if we are honest, we realize that we do a lot of them and we do them kind of often. Even on our best days when we are so obedient to God - there are still moments when we think a sinful thought or do some kind of a "little sin." You have to admit, we are habitual sinners.
Sometimes when we are reading our Bible on a regular basis throughout the week and praying to God often and resisting temptations - we feel really close to God. That's an amazing feeling and it's a beautiful blessing to feel that way and we totally should feel like that when we are living lives that are pleasing to God. the Bible says in James that when we draw near to God he draws near to us. But the opposite is also true. When it's been a couple of days since we have prayed or read anything in the Bible God starts to feel a little bit more distant. And when we look back on the last week and see a lot of moments where we gave into temptation, or just didn't even try to resist it at all, we naturally do not feel close to God. He feels far away after weeks like that and that's a good thing! It's a good thing because that feeling totally stinks! And so that feeling of distance and separation from God leads us to repent and run back to God and to our Bibles and to prayer.
Those feelings of being close to God or distance from him are very real and very important but through all of that, through the ups and the downs of our successes and failures, we are not saved or unsaved by any of it. We are saved through trusting in Jesus Christ and his promise to forgive us if we repent and turn from loving our sins. We can never be righteous before God on our own, we need Jesus' blood to cover over all of our days, the good ones and the bad ones. Jesus is the one who justifies us, not our good weeks of solid devotion to the Lord. Trust in Jesus and he will save you and his blood will cover all of your inadequacies.
It's ok to feel bad when you haven't been living an obedient life lately, in fact most of us should feel a lot worse about many of our days, but we ought not to let that feeling make us worry that we might no longer be loved by God. It feels way better to be close to God so we ought to make every effort to live obedient lives and to spend plenty of time in his presence, but even when we mess up and when that feeling of closeness goes away, our salvation does not. Christ's blood is enough to cover the failures of our best and our worst moments.
Fellow sinner, our Heavenly Father looks at those of us who have given our lives to him and says, "I declare you righteous, not because of your good actions but because of the great sacrifice of my son." Because of this promise we are free to do good works out of pure motives because we don't need to earn anything, so we are free to obey God simply because we enjoy it. Obey God because you enjoy fellowship with him and because you enjoy the feeling of being close to him, never do so in order to earn credits that will get you into heaven - it doesn't work that way.
The entrance fee to enter heaven is already paid for, all that is left is for us to trust in the one who paid it.