“Not being bad” does not equal “Being good.”
A common theme in recent discussions with friends is that if we’re not bad, we’ll go to heaven. Don’t lie, cheat, steal, etc. and you’ll enter heaven. That’s simply not the case. Why? Because “not being bad” does not equal “being good.”
“Being righteous” equals “Being good.”
We are sinners. (Romans 3:23) Our natural condition is death. We are saved from that condition only thru Christ’s grace, given by repentance and baptism into his body. (Acts 2) A life of discipleship follows that entry into Christ’s church. It takes our positive action — as opposed to the inaction of simply not sinning — to be saved. And that action is only effective thru Christ’s grace.
One key element of our discipleship with Christ is overcoming evil with good. (Romans 12:21)
I certainly have found that overcoming evil is easiest, if you will, by doing good. What is doing good? What is righteousness? Paul lists several examples in Romans 12.
- Abhor evil
- Be kind
- Be fervent in Spirit
- Don’t be slothful in business
- Rejoice in hope
- Be patient in tribulation
- Be instant in prayer
- Bless them which persecute you
- Help the saints (fellow members of the Church)
- Rejoice with those who rejoice
- Weep with those who weep
- Be honest in the sight of all men
- Feed a hungry enemy
It’s not enough simply overcome evil…to resist sin. We are not saved by our inaction of not sinning. We are saved by our active discipleship in Christ…made possible only thru his sacrifice.
An active disciple of Christ strives for righteousness. He overcomes evil…and does it by doing good. He stores up his treasures in heaven. (Matthew 6:20)