Sin

Are You Good Enough to Go to Hell?

I think these words of Jesus are the scariest I’ve ever heard:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

“On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’

“And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness'” (Matt. 7:21–23).

Check out the résumé of these people to whom Jesus will refuse entrance into heaven:

  1. They claim that Jesus is their Lord, the One who rules their lives.
  2. They publicly teach about Jesus with passion and authority.
  3. They cast out demons in Jesus’ name (something I definitely haven’t done!).
  4. They do miracles—actual miracles—all in Jesus’ name.

Jesus says people will be shocked when He’ll ask, “Who are you? I never knew you.”

News flash: hell is for good people, too. People like you; people like me.

Tell me, do you:

  • Read your Bible?
  • Volunteer at the soup kitchen?
  • Tell people about Jesus?
  • Rescue helpless animals?
  • Go on mission trips?
  • Help in the church nursery?

If so, you’re good enough to go to hell.

You’re headed to heaven not because you were good enough, but because Jesus was good enough for you.

But if good people go to hell, then who on earth is good enough for heaven?!

No one.

And if your hope is in being good enough to get into heaven, you’re headed straight to hell.

I’ve heard Mark Vroegop say it like this: “Works don’t work.” Check out Romans 4:5 to see what he means:

To the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.

In case “does not work” sounds like a permission slip for a lifelong vacation, let me clarify. In 2 Peter 1:5–7 we’re told:

Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.

“The gospel is not opposed to effort but [it is opposed] to earning,” the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible explains.

There’s nothing wrong with good works—as long as they flow out of gratitude for the grace you’ve been shown by Jesus. You’re headed to heaven not because you were good enough, but because Jesus was good enough for you. He bore God’s wrath toward your filthy and your “good” works, and He gave you the record of always having been 100 percent good.

If you recognize that you’re good enough to go to hell, please, oh, please, would you stop counting on your “good works” to earn you a spot in heaven? Turn to and trust in the only One good enough to secure eternal salvation for you—Jesus.

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About Author

Paula Marsteller

Paula no longer tries to catch guys' attention by swallowing live goldfish, arm wrestling, and jumping down flights of stairs. (She's married to a wonderful man now!) She spends her days caring for her son, Iren, and writing for Revive Our Hearts. She's the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, and she and her family live in New York.

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  • Hey Kate !
    Can I just say, I totally feel ya. Sometimes my sin overwhelms me to the point I wonder, who could ever love me ? Why would JESUS accept me ?
    But can I just say…Jesus loves you so completely. He KNOWS every flaw of your’s; every hidden sin and every obvious one. And you know what ? He chooses to love YOU. He’s not naive. He knows. And when He sees you, He doesn’t look down and say, “Kate, I’ve NEVER met anyone as sinful and sorry as you. There is no way that I could pay the price for YOUR sin. It’s just too much. I’m sorry.” No ! Instead He says, “Because YOU are honored in My eyes, and precious, and I love YOU, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. Fear not, I am with you.”
    Accept His grace. It’s bigger than your failer. Deeper than your largest sin. Turn to Him. He loves you- He really does. As I type this I’m preaching to myself.
    Praying for you chica ! Come to Him with your burdens. Confess, and then let go. Accept His grace. Live free in Him. He paid a huge price for you; nothing is too big for Him to overcome.

    • BrokenbutLoved

      This helped me too, Victoria! Thank you!

  • Chy

    Something I really struggle with is believing that I’m going to Heaven. I have most definitely accepted Jesus into my life, I believe and trust in Him and know that He is good. I have seen Him move in incredible ways and ultimately, want to do His work. But then I consistently walk away from Him over and over again. Im talking making an active decision to just stop praying, reading my Bible and doing what is right because I’m too tired or it feels to hard or I’d just rather do something else. So I spend days, weeks even just ignoring God. But then of course I always feel empty and convicted and come back to the love and peace I know in faith.
    I usually try and believe that this is just evidence of my sin nature, but that I am still saved by God’s incredible grace.
    But then I fear that this level of active sin means I’m not under his grace, and I get scared that I will be one of the people Jesus says He never knew. I’ll admit I have spent many a tearful night fearing that and fearing and eternity in Hell. I know that salvation is by faith, and not works. And I know that I believe in Christ whole heartdely, and have passionately shared that with others because I have seen him change my life. Yet when I look at the rebellion also present in my life… I just don’t know. Any help?

    • We are thankful to know that you have received Christ as your Savior and see evidences of the reality of your new life in Him. The knowledge that you return to Him and feel His peace after you repent of your sin is also evidence of the reality of your faith.

      The challenge you are facing is taking your doubts and your thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. God tells us in His Word that once we believe in Christ and have repented of our sins nothing (including our own sin) can snatch us out of the hands of God (Jn. 10:26-27). It is so important for us to use Scripture to bring our thoughts and emotions back to truth. I encourage you to confess your sin of rebellion to the Lord and ask Him to give you a passion for Him and His Word. He loves to answer that prayer and draw you deeper in relationship with Him.

      We have a small book we can send you to help you work through your doubts, Chy. If you are interested send me your US postal address at info@reviveourhearts.com and I’ll get it out to you. I also encourage you to share your doubts with your parents or even an older godly woman that you respect. They can help you to develop some disciplines in your life to stay close to God. They can also pray for you, encourage you and hold you accountable on a consistent basis by asking you the hard questions. I’m praying for you now, Chy.

      • Chy

        Thank you so much for this kind and oh so helpful response! I think this was the answer I was hoping for, and just needed that affirmation in a darker time of doubt. Its a great reminder for me to recognize my doubts and fight back in prayer and weighing everything against God’s truth.
        So thankful for this safe place..

  • Ann

    I grew up at a Christian church along with my siblings, my parents came to Christ at a very young age as well. I remember my sister raising her hand one Sunday morning and going to the front and accepting Christ, my brother did that as well, but I spent years terrified of the fact that I had to raise my hand and walk in front of around 200 people in order to accept Christ. One day I decided to pray all by myself asking Jesus to enter my heart. I don’t remember the date or my age. I don’t remember a before and after. I just prayed and continued with my life. A few months later I got baptized but I still had (and still struggle with) the idea that my conversion wasn’t real. Even though I got baptized at 16 years old and started serving in the music ministry, until today (25), I’m not really sure if either my conversion or baptism were real. That steals my confidence in pretty much everything I do or say (when I’m serving in the ministry, preaching others, reading the bible, praying, singing). I’m always thinking: Should I feel something more than this? Should I be doing this? What’s my calling? What’s God’s will for my life? Will I go to hell? Should I get baptized again?

    Anyway, this article made me think on that again. I’m definitely not good at all and recognize Jesus as the only Savior and I’m also thankful for resources like this that teach me the bible but I would like to experience Jesus in a deeper way, feel His assurance, do works out of gratitude and not for earning or self glory… please pray for me. Thank you.

    • Carrie @ Revive Our Hearts

      Precious friend, I have good news for you tonight. God wants you to have an intimate relationship with Him. He wants you to know where you stand in relationship with Him. And according to His Word it is possible for you to know. I write these things
      to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you
      have eternal life(I John 5:13).

      You are so right, Ann, only as we rest in the assurance of what Jesus did in
      His life, death, and resurrection are we able to experience the joy and freedom
      of an intimate relationship with Him… a relationship He came to bring to
      you. The thief comes only to steal, and kill, and destroy; I came that they might have
      life, and might have it abundantly (John 10:10).

      The question is where is your faith? Is it in your own works of “righteousness”
      or is it in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus?

      I’d love for you to listen to these two broadcast series from Revive Our Hearts, Ann. I believe they will help bring clarity and freedom to you in your walk with the Lord.

      Because He Loves Me by Elyse Fitzpatrck (http://tinyurl.com/chuc26w) and Approved by Carrie Gaul (http://tinyurl.com/kv7k7px)

      I’m praying for you to settle this week where you are in relationship with God, Ann.

      Grace and peace,

      Carrie

  • genesis herrera

    i knew that my good works where never ever going to be enough but that if you have faith in God that will get you into heaven…but know that i think about it..i realize that i mostly do what i do at church (nursery sitting, attending bible study, and ect.) was for myself and i see now that i never felt like Jesus was enough, weather it would be running to boys to make me feel loved ( because i never felt like i got it from my dad or sometimes God) or to friends, clothes, money or anything. I see know that i never feel as if im satisfied with God because i always think “if my dad would love me more that would be enough” or ” maybe if i was a better christian and got my life back on track, God would love me more” but i know that my good deeds dont make me good… i need to love Jesus more than anything else…i have a hard time with it but my ” want to” > “my sacrifice” and i would really apreciate it if anyone would pray for me on this… 🙂 thanks!!

    • Steve Tyler

      Genesis, if you are saved, the you have been made right before God. When He looks at you, He sees the righteousness and perfect obedience of His only Son! You can’t improve on that, you can only serve Him out of gratitude.

      Romans 3:21-22
      But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe…

      Romans 4:5-8
      But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.”

  • Mimi

    Could someone make a post on the fear of Hell sometime? Thank you.