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Why is being a good person not enough to get you into heaven? No one is ever good enough to merit the grace of God and earn a ticket to heaven. The fact is that we all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) whether we are ordained or ordinary saints, laity or clergy. This essentially means that of our own effort we can never please God or earn His favor. Jesus confirms this fact in Matthew 19:17 when he declared that no one is good except God. If there is any goodness ascribed to us then it must simply be on the basis that Christ has purchased and God therefore considers us justified only on the basis of the righteousness of Christ and nothing else. We only gain access to heaven because of Christ's finished works at Calvary that reconciled us to God and because the righteousness of Christ is imputed upon every person who yields to the Lordship of Jesus. If we could earn divine merit by any other means then the teaching of Ephesians 2:8-10 would be in vain. This is also why scripture teaches us that we must acknowledge our sinfulness before a holy and righteous God (1 John 1:8-10) and continually depend on Christ to please God because we possess sinful flesh which continually wars or battles against the our spiritual nature that continues to be renewed in Christ until we appear in His Presence.
I would answer the question by posing another question - whose standard of "goodness"? I suspect the question is focusing our attention to human goodness. Being good as described in Mathew 19:17 refers to God's goodness or righteousness. I shall address this issue from a slightly different angle to show us that God does not demand that we change ourselves to be good so that we can be acceptable to Him but that He demands that we come to Him as we are so that He can give us His goodness or righteousness free of charge. Only His goodness can get us into heaven. I want to start by directing our attention to Zech 3:1 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?”3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel. 4 Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.” 5 And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the Lord stood by. It becomes very clear from this passage that the good High Priest Joshua's goodness was actually the equivalent of filthy rags. And the irony was not lost of Satan who was there to point out the deficiencies to God, who does not try to patch up the deficiencies in Joshua but grants him a fresh set of clean robes from the heavenly wardrobe. After that Satan had no more accusations. The robes that God gave Joshua are representative of the goodness/ righteousness that is freely given to us by virtue of the death of Christ on the cross. However we need to acknowledge that our own goodness is not good enough to get us to heaven. Rev 3:17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Here God is very clear that most of us have a problem of thinking that our own efforts at making ourselves good are good enough to merit heaven. The same picture is painted as in Joshua, our goodness is actually nowhere near the standard of God because we are actually naked. We need to see ourselves as needing help and then accept that help which is bought without money. Lastly Mat 22:8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9 Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’ 10 So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. 12 So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. In this passage from Mathew, Jesus advises strongly that it would be good for us not only go to church (accept the invitation to the wedding) but also important to remove our filthy rags (our own goodness) that make us unfit for the wedding banquet (entry into heaven) and put on the wedding garment. To those that do not put on the wedding garment (the righteousness of Jesus) the consequences are dire indeed. Finally being a good person will not get you into heaven because it has never been a criterion. The criterion is, "Is Jesus in you?".
Doing good works, i.e., following the Law, is not a monopoly of God-fearing people. Rom.2:4 "Even Gentiles, who do not have God's written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it."(NLT). Even people from godless societies, like atheists, do good to their neighbors. Goes to show that good works can be done by anyone, if they so choose. But, even our ultimate good works and what maybe the very best to us may not necessarily be so, as far as God is concerned. Notice how the prophet Isaiah included himself in: “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away” (Isaiah 64:6). The word filthy is from Hebrew word iddah, which literally means “the bodily fluids from a woman’s menstrual cycle.” It is God who defines what is good and pleasing to him. In the narrative offering of Abel and Cain: “And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto Jehovah. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And Jehovah had respect unto Abel and to his offering: but unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell” (Gen. 4:3-5). “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he had witness borne to him that he was righteous, God bearing witness in respect of his gifts: and through it he being dead yet speaketh” (Heb.11:4). Notice that both gave an offering but Abel was by faith, and Cain was not. His offering was rejected because it was offered according to his own presumption of what is best for him that is acceptable and pleasing to God. The "fruit" that he sacrificed for, turned out to be as "filthy rags" because it was not by faith. This narrative suggesting the "righteousness of faith" and not of works. In summary, good works, i.e., righteousness, is defined by and has to come from God. In fact, the fruits of the Spirit require that they had to come from the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit in us. We could not receive this promise of the Holy Spirit unless by grace and faith, through the death and resurrection of Christ. In Eph. 2:10 and 2 Cor. 3:5, the expression of these fruits of the. Holy Spirit as in “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them”. No works that emanate from us, no matter how splendid, will bring salvation. The works had to be from that of the Holy Spirit in-dwelling and us following its guidance and direction. As Jesus said in Gethsemane, "not my will but yours". There is only one way for anyone to be saved, and that is through the grace of the Creator YHVH, who incarnated to Christ Jesus, as in "There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12) His death and resurrection got us the Holy Spirit.
The question you have asked is "why?" At first it might seem to make sense that if God wants us to be good, and we are good as God wants us to be, and since it is God who chooses whether or not we can get into heaven. That because we are good God can and should allow us into heaven. Does that sum up what you are asking? Certainly sounds logical to me. But, you see, there is a problem with that logic and no, it is not because we can't be good enough. The problem lies in the nature of God. He is an omnipotent being. As an omnipotent being, whatever he says must come to pass. "I am not a man that I could lie"! That is why He cannot lie, you see? If He says something, it becomes an immutable law. It has to come to pass. And He said: "The wages of sin is death". It is an immutable law that if we sin, there must be a death. Therefore, the problem becomes not that we can't be good, we can. The problem is that we ALL have sinned. Everyone of us. And under God's immutable law, we owe our life. The wage of sin must be paid. No matter how much good we do, God cannot change His law or He would be a liar and not omnipotent. So then, we get to the same enigma that his disciples got to: if that is the case, how can anyone be saved? And the answer that scripture gives us is "what is impossible for man is possible for God"! Someone might say: "Because I love you and you are sentenced, under the law if God, to die, I will give my life that you may live", thus paying the wages of sin. The problem is that they cannot do so because they too have sinned and they already owe their own life and so cannot use it to pay for your life. Only someone who is without sin could pay the price for your sin and then only with his life. That, in order for God not to be a liar (which is impossible) would be the only Way. Now we can see why there is only one Way. There has only ever been one who lived without sin. ONE. And he, Jesus, said: "I am the Way, The Truth and The Life. No one comes to the Father except through me!" Only He could pay the price for your life because only He was without sin. God's immutable law still stands BUT, he, because of Jesus willingness to sacrifice His own life, can now choose to allow you to live to reach heaven. What are His conditions to do so. Not for you to be good. It is for you to honor His son by believing in Him. God will then allow you to use His goodness, His Love and His Sacrifice. "For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son so that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have ever lasting life! "
Romans 3:23 KJV  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; There is no such a perfect person, there was only one perfect person that was Jesus. Even good people can't live up to Gods perfection. We all have and will sin in one way or another. Either in some type of anger, bad thoughts, or any action. Let's face it, it is very hard for a good person to go through life without a doubt, temptation, bad feeling, and jealous. But does that make a good person, a bad person. No it makes us human. We are to walk as close to the way Jesus did, but to be completely sinless is really hard to do. It is through Gods grace, constant prayer and getting closer to him, is how we grow. God wants you to put him first above all. Even a good person at some point in their life, does and will need God. It isn't of works alone. James 2:17 KJV  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. You see, you have to do both, have faith and must do good work. Just being a good person isn't enough, you have to be a good person, plus have faith. Your faith grows by believing, praying and preaching (or) teaching (talking about) the word of God. Always asking for forgiveness for anything that you might have done wrong.
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