Does God give us “points” for trying to be good?

DOES GOD GIVE US “POINTS” FOR TRYING TO BE GOOD?

by Shawn Brasseaux

A Roman Catholic friend once told me that he believed God gave us “points” when we tried to do our best. We may not be perfect, but he reasoned we can certainly “try” to be like Jesus and God will give us “points” for effort. Like in high school or college, if we answer a question wrongly, but at least attempt to answer it, the teacher or professor will give us a few points. While this idea of “partial credit” sounds reasonable to the natural man, and is quite handy in school, it is completely unbiblical to apply it to justification before God. God never gives “partial credit” to anyone. Either we have perfect righteousness or we do not, friends. We trust we will demonstrate in this study that the Holy Bible does not teach God giving us “partial credit!”

In fact, the Bible teaches the opposite of “partial credit” before God. With the God of the Bible, Law-keeping is “all-or-nothing.” You either keep all of the Law, or you break all of the Law. James 2:10-11 in the King James (Protestant) Bible says: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.” For our Roman Catholic readers, we quote the New American (Roman Catholic) Bible: “For whoever keeps the whole law, but falls short in one particular, has become guilty in respect to all of it. For he who said, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘You shall not kill.’ Even if you do not commit adultery but kill, you have become a transgressor of the law.’”

Both the Roman Catholic and the Protestant Bibles agree that the Law is an “all-or-nothing” system. You fall short with one commandment, and you break all of the commandments. The Roman Catholic Bible actually contradicts the Roman Catholic doctrine that we can “do the best we can” and “make up for what we have done wrong.” According to Sacred Scripture, James 2:10 in particular, we can do no right to “make up” for our wrongs! Again, if you offend the Law in one point, you are guilty of breaking all of the Law. God does not give partial credit, He does not give partial righteousness, and He does not give partial eternal life. Once more, if you offend the Law in one point, you are guilty of breaking all of the Law! Never forget that, friend.

In order to get to heaven, you have to be perfect, my friend. Romans chapter 2 tells us in the King James (Protestant) Bible: “[5] But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; “[6] Who will render to every man according to his deeds: [7] To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: [8] But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, [9] Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; [10] But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: [11] For there is no respect of persons with God.”

And, the New American (Roman Catholic) Bible: “5 By your stubbornness and impenitent heart, you are storing up wrath for yourself for the day of wrath and revelation of the just judgment of God, 6 who will repay everyone according to his works: 7 eternal life to those who seek glory, honor, and immortality through perseverance in good works, 8 but wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth and obey wickedness. 9 Yes, affliction and distress will come upon every human being who does evil, Jew first and then Greek. 10 But there will be glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good, Jew first and then Greek. 11 There is no partiality with God.”

Notice how we read about people who are “evil” (verse 9). Who is evil? James 2:10 already told us that the “evil” people are Law-breakers. They have offended God’s Law in at least one point. When Romans 2:10 talks about “good” people, it refers to people who have never sinned at all. They have never broken even one of God’s laws! You say, “Oh, but Shawn, there is no sinless person anywhere! Every person has sinned!” I immediately reply, “Yes, yes, yes! I agree, my friend!” That is the purpose of Romans chapter 2. It is to condemn all people as sinners, unworthy of eternal life and unworthy of heaven. It declares us all to be ungodly and unrighteous. Saint Paul is outlining the sinfulness of man, that he may present the righteousness of Jesus Christ in chapter 3. God offers us His righteousness in Christ Jesus. He does not demand that we make ourselves holy and acceptable to Him because He knows we cannot do it. We cannot be “good” because our nature is evil, tainted by sin. The Law already demonstrated it. Go back to James 2:10.

Let us repeat. With God, Law-keeping is “all-or-nothing.” You either keep all of the Law, or you break all of the Law. James 2:10-11 in the King James (Protestant) Bible says: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.” For our Roman Catholic readers, we quote the New American (Roman Catholic) Bible: “For whoever keeps the whole law, but falls short in one particular, has become guilty in respect to all of it. For he who said, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘You shall not kill.’ Even if you do not commit adultery but kill, you have become a transgressor of the law.’”

And, no, Romans 2:6-11 is not a plan for getting into heaven. You cannot “continue” (“persevere”) in well doing. There comes a point when you fail, when you interrupt, so you cannot obtain eternal life by “continuing” or “persevering.” The moment you fail, Saint James says you have failed completely. But that is not all. Works-religion is again demonstrated to be a failure, unable to get us to heaven.

We can also see what Saint Paul says about the matter of justification before God. Galatians 3:10-11 in the King James (Protestant) Bible says: “[10] For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. [11] But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.” For our Roman Catholic readers, we quote the New American (Roman Catholic) Bible: “10 For all who depend on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed be everyone who does not persevere in doing all the things written in the book of the law.’ 11 And that no one is justified before God by the law is clear, for “the one who is righteous by faith will live.”

The New American (Roman Catholic) Bible has the following footnote at Galatians 3:10: “Those who depend not on promise and faith but on works of the law are under a curse because they do not persevere in doing all the things written in the book of the law (⇒ Gal 3:10; ⇒ Deut 27:26) in order to gain life (⇒ Gal 3:12; ⇒ Lev 18:5; cf ⇒ Romans 10:5). But scripture teaches that no one is justified before God by the law (⇒ Gal 3:11; ⇒ Hebrews 2:4, adapted from the Greek version of Habakkuk; cf ⇒ Romans 1:17; ⇒ Hebrews 10:38). Salvation, then, depends on faith in Christ who died on the cross (⇒ Gal 3:13), taking upon himself a curse found in ⇒ Deut 21:23 (about executed criminals hanged in public view), to free us from the curse of the law (⇒ Gal 3:13). That the Gentile Galatians have received the promised Spirit (⇒ Gal 3:14) by faith and in no other way returns the argument to the experience cited in ⇒ Gal 3:1-5.” (Bold emphasis mine.)

Even the Roman Catholic scholars quoted above admit that salvation into heaven is dependent entirely on Jesus Christ. It has nothing to do with our works or our performance in religion, for we do not continue (“persevere”) in everything written in the Law. Jesus Christ died to free us from the curse of the Law. Do we believe it as true? Do we reckon it as true for ourselves? Have we placed our faith, our complete reliance, on Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins? Not as a way to “help” us, but to do it all for us? That is the message Saint Paul is trying to tell us. Again, Romans 2:6-11 is condemnation—we cannot “persevere” in good works therefore we are bad and under the condemnation of the Law. We are unable to persevere to get eternal life. No one is justified by works. No one is justified by the Law! Justification (right standing before God) is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone!

Romans 3:19-20 in the King James (Protestant) Bible: “[19] Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. [20] Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:19-20 in the New American (Roman Catholic) Bible: “19 Now we know that what the law 4 says is addressed to those under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world stand accountable to God, 20 since no human being will be justified in his sight 5 by observing the law; for through the law comes consciousness of sin.”

Galatians 3:10 in the King James (Protestant) Bible: “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” Galatians 3:10 in the New American (Roman Catholic) Bible: “Cursed be everyone who does not persevere in doing all the things written in the book of the law.” If you do not do all things” that are written in the Law, you are under a “curse.” This agrees perfectly with James 2:10. What is the curse? Eternal damnation in hell! Go back to Romans 2:8-9 in the King James (Protestant) Bible: “But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, [9] Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile….” Romans 2:8-9 in the New American (Roman Catholic) Bible: “8 but wrath and fury to those who selfishly disobey the truth and obey wickedness. 9 Yes, affliction and distress will come upon every human being who does evil, Jew first and then Greek.”

Cursed is everyone who does not do everything the Law demands. That means, even if you keep 99% of the Law, the one percent of disobedience nullifies/cancels your obedience. Again, the Law, the performance-based acceptance system, is an “all-or-nothing” system. This is the fact set forth in both the Protestant and Roman Catholic Bibles. In reality, we understand the following: Our performance will never make it before God. Every little failure will add up. No Law-keeping is enough for heaven. Even one failure cancels out everything preceding it. Our score before God is “0.” We score no points with God by our good works because our disobedience completely cancels our good works. That is why trusting in Jesus and our good works is also a failure. If Jesus Christ is enough, why do we have to work? Are we going to supplement what Jesus did at Calvary? What heresy! What blasphemy! What folly! Friend, to add to Christ’s sacrifice is to taint it with sinful human fingers! Leave Christ’s sacrifice alone and just accept it by faith!

Also see:
» Does “once saved, always saved” entitle us to abuse God’s grace?
» Should I recite “The Lord’s Prayer?”
» What was the real Immaculate Conception?

3 responses to “Does God give us “points” for trying to be good?

  1. Pingback: Hiding Thyself | 333 Words of Grace

  2. Pingback: Are we humans created in “the image of God?” | For What Saith the Scriptures?

  3. Pingback: What are “phylacteries?” | For What Saith the Scriptures?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s