One of the things the Bible is clear on is that we don’t make it into heaven on our own merit. God’s standard is absolute perfection. Nothing less will do. One could argue that we, being imperfect, cannot possibly live up to that standard. God understood this. That is why Jesus came to die for our sins.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. – Romans 3:23-25, ESV
If we picture God looking at a set of cosmic scales, one side weighing our good deeds and the other side our evil ones, we are wrong. The Bible doesn’t support this view. Nor does it support the view that people are basically good. In comparison to the worst dregs of society we might appear good, but the problem is that we are held to God’s standard. Against it we abysmally fail.
This is where Sola Gratia, by grace alone, enters in. The Bible tells us that our righteousness is by grace, a free gift because of Jesus Christ. In other words, we can’t earn our righteousness. We can’t do enough good deeds to pay our passage. We must accept this unmerited present, for it is the only way to heaven. Christ Himself proclaimed He is the only way. He wasn’t just talking about religions; He was also making the statement that either we come through Him or we don’t come at all.
If you are familiar with the arguments of predestination versus free will, you’ve probably noted that I’ve not made an argument for or against either. It isn’t that the theological discussion between the two positions isn’t important. It is. However, what is more important is the understanding that we are saved solely by grace. We must remove from the Church the heresies that people are basically good or that if we are good people we will go to heaven. We get there through Christ alone, by His grace alone – Sola Gratia. Let us worship and acknowledge Him through whom we are imparted with righteousness.