I don’t sin
There are quite a few people, unfortunately, who declare they are so good that they, in fact, don’t sin; and in making that statement, what they’re really stating is they are one of the people furthest from God and are deceiving themselves. Since the people closest to God know how incredibly wretched they really are. They’ve examined their conscience, are aware of their weakened nature, and know that they need God’s grace, love, mercy and forgiveness to live a righteous, morally good life. The saints, who live every moment of their lives as servants of God, full of consistent joy and love, can come up with a whole litany of their own sins daily. Yet, those who don’t pray or hardly pray—for if one doesn’t pray they don’t know God—decide they are “good” according to their own standards, not God’s, and can’t think of a single sin they’ve committed.
If we say, “We have not sinned,” we make him [God] a liar, and his word is not in us.
— 1 John 1:10
The above Bible verse tells us that if we think we don’t sin—even though all of us sin many, many sins—we make God a liar and His Word (Jesus) is not in us. If Jesus isn’t in us, then we don’t have the Light of Life in us and are, therefore, in darkness. If we’re in darkness then we aren’t saved, since it is only by being in the light—being in friendship with Jesus, and having no unforgiven mortal sin on our soul—that we are saved. Good works will not save anyone (cf. Ephesians 2:8-9).
This can come as a huge shock to someone who thinks they’re “good,” since they don’t rob or kill anyone. They truly believe all “good guys” go to Heaven, since they think Hell is just for murderers and Satanists and such. Of course it is true that unrepentant murderers and Satanists are deserving of Hell, but so are “good guys” who are not reconciled with Christ. If someone says they don’t sin, then they have nothing to be sorry for and no unrepentant sinner will be saved.
It is by grace–sanctifying grace–through “Faith,” because of the merits of Jesus that we are saved; not by our own works (cf. Ephesians 2:8). We are simply rewarded and/or punished on Earth, in Purgatory, and in Heaven or Hell for our works (choices)—not saved. Therefore, those who believe in Jesus (have real faith) are the ones who try to live His commands; they actually try to get to know God by praying and reading His Word (the Bible); they try to do everything that God commands them to do, and they repent (ask for mercy and forgiveness) for their wrongs. Those are the people who will be saved. Faith is proven by our actions of living God’s Word, not “living life as one sees fit” (cf. James 2:14-26).
Also, if someone’s “good works” aren’t done for the love of God, then they truly aren’t “good” after all, and no reward will be given to them. Many think they are “good” based on their own standards—not by God’s standards—and God is the one who is going to judge their soul based on His standards of good. God’s standards of good are found through prayer, reading the Bible (where He gives us direction on how to live in this life), and trying to follow His commands while repenting, with true sorrow, for our sins.
Someone who has convinced themselves they are so “good” that they “don’t sin” may also do seemingly “good works” but they are for selfish, self-serving purposes. Even if they seem to be doing charitable works out of the goodness of their heart, those works must be done with the intention of loving God in the person they are serving for it to truly be a “good work,” not because they want to be seen as a “good guy” or because they simply like doing good since it does have its reward of some earthly gratification. “They have received their reward” (Matthew 6:1-3). But if someone wants to have heavenly joy for eternity as well as great earthly joy, they need to do everything for the Love of God.
I am the searcher of hearts and minds, and that I will give each of you what your conduct deserves.
— Revelation 2:23
This is why the good atheist who works for the food bank sadly doesn’t have much hope for Heaven, because his intentions for his “good works” weren’t really good after all since they have nothing to do with loving or serving God through the poor, and it is only by faith in Jesus that anyone is saved. His motives were not to serve Jesus, who is in the poor. Perhaps his motivations were to serve the poor so he could feel good about himself or appear “good” in the sight of man as opposed to in the sight of God. He didn’t wish to be known as evil, but rather good. Most people actually do want to be good, whether they believe in God or not. Even the atheist has figured out that doing evil brings sadness—and no one wants to be sad. We all like the compliments people give us, but are we seeking the praise of our neighbor for our charitable efforts, or are we doing it to love and to serve God? “I the Lord, explore the mind and test the heart, [God knows our intentions] giving to all according to their ways [rewarding or punishing us], according to the fruit of their deeds” (Jeremiah 17:10). God truly knows the desires of our hearts and knows if our fruit [good works] was grown from righteousness or sin, and will reward or punish us accordingly.
For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.
–James 3: 16-18
Therefore simply being a “good guy”, who doesn’t seem to sin, doesn’t make anyone deserving of Eternal Life when in reality they are drowned in sin and don’t know Christ who saves…sadly, they possess so much unforgiven sin, they can’t even see their sins–they are that blind; their relationship with God is completely broken. They can’t be saved if they haven’t even tried to follow God’s commands; that isn’t faith in Jesus (James 2:16). Many say they believe in Jesus with their words, but in their heart and in the intentions of their actions, they prove they don’t. Many want everything (Eternal Happiness) without doing anything God has requested adn have pushed away the saving grace they received at baptism with their sins. Sadly, they don’t even try to follow God, yet, Satan has tricked many into thinking they are somehow saved and are going to have a great place in heaven. Why? That simply isn’t true. Don’t fall for the trap. Repent and change. God wants everyone in heaven with Him. He loves us.
The fear of God’s just judgement should be enough to shake anyone’s soul into trying to find their wretchedness by an examination of conscience, repenting, changing and working hard to sin no more, while also trying to atone (pay the price) for all of their sins now, before punishment in Hell or Purgatory is due. “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:22); your eternity is worth it!
Luckily for us, God loves us so much. He is calling out to everyone today with His great love and mercy which is waiting for us. Believe it or not, if someone were to see the light today after reading this, and truly repent, change their ways, work hard to sin no more, and atoned for their sins here on Earth (to pay the penalty they would receive in Purgatory by offering up their crosses and performing acts of mercy, etc.) for all the sins they’ve committed after their baptism before they die, then they could become a saint and go straight to Heaven at the hour of their death. With God all things are possible. We must Work hard for our salvation, it will last forever. God will shower us with so many graces in this life and the next when we choose to live a life according to His Word. When we truly love and serve God above all else in this life then our reward will be great in Heaven (cf. Luke 6:35).