This false doctrine teaches that it is possible to work your way into Heaven.
Simply put, it states that through good deeds, doing right things instead of wrong things, basically doing more good than bad, becomes one way to get to heaven.
Think of the image of a scale where one side outweighs the other. As long as the good outweighs the bad, your in.
Some religions including Islam teach this concept. One place it is found is the Koran:
Then those whose balance (of good deeds) is heavy,- they will attain success (salvation): But those whose balance is light, will be those who have lost their souls, in Hell will they abide (Surah 23:102ff).
What The Bible Teaches: The only way to get to Heaven is through faith in Jesus Christ our Messiah. In other words, our salvation is a faith based issue and not a works based issue.
When the Disciples asked Jesus how to get to Heaven...Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
The Old Testament teaches that even though we do what we believe to be many good deeds, we are clearly sinners and the sin issue needs to be dealt with. Concerning our own good deeds, even though to us there may be many, when viewed from God's salvation viewpoint, it's a different story. Isaiah, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, revealed how much our good deeds and righteous acts are worth when weighted on the scale of salvation.
All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; (Isaiah 64:6)
That is why the sin issue needs to be dealt with. In the Old Testament days, sacrifices were often made to deal with the sin issues. Usually (but not always) using the blood of a substitute animal (often a lamb) climaxing once a year on the Day of Atonement. On this day, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, Israel's High Priest would go inside the Holy of Holies, with the lambs blood, and sprinkle it on the Ark of the Covenant, at the same time praying for forgiveness (atonement) for the entire Nation of Israel.
This brings to mind Leviticus 17:11 "For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life."
The New Testament teaches that Jesus became a sacrificial lamb for all who believe in Him. He died around 32 A.D. and the Second Temple was destroyed shortly after that around 70 A.D. Since that time there have clearly been no sacrifices of any kind (blood or anything else) since the temple is needed for the sacrifices to resume.
Jesus our Messiah is also our Redeemer, because he paid for all our sin with His blood.
Isaiah says it this way in Isiah 53:
Other Thinks To Consider:
If you could get to heaven based on a measurement of your good deeds compared to your bad deeds could you get to heaven if you did lots of good deeds but didn't believe in God like an Atheists or Agnostic?
If being good gets you to Heaven how good is "good enough?"
Abraham, the founding father of Judaism, had his faith credited to him as righteousness not good deeds.
Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness. (Gen. 15:6)
Jesus is considered "good enough" because He was sinless. He also claimed to be at one with the Father. Jesus Divinity represents His part in a Compound Unity (one God) consisting of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus our Messiah, our Redeemer, was God Himself in human form. Who else but God, could be sin free, clearly "good enough" to go to heaven, and love the world (His creation) enough to offer a way for reconciliation for everyone who believes. That's why Jesus is the only way to Heaven. The only way to God is through God Himself.
For by grace you have been saved through faith;... it is the gift of God, not of works (Eph. 2:8-9).
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saves us (Titus 3:5).
To read more about this check out http://answersfromthebook.com/cgi-bin/aftb/articles?main_article=119
Other articles of interest include:
Image of scale from Google Images linked to http://answersfromthebook.com/cgi-bin/aftb/articles?main_article=119
Israel My Glory - A Ministry of the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministries, Inc. January/February 2014 pp.22-23 by Thomas C. Simcox.