We have all become like an unclean thing; all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We are all fading like a leaf, and our iniquities, like a strong wind, are carrying us away. (Isaiah 64:6)
Many years ago, a Methodist minister said to me, “When I stand before God in the Day of Judgment, I will say to Him, I did my best.” At the time, I thought these words were profoundly appealing. However, now that I look back on that experience, I feel pity for that man, because his understanding of the doctrines of salvation and the judgment of God were biblically off base. For what he was essentially describing, whether he knew it or not, was a works based salvation.
Our best could never be enough to save us. It’s not a matter of looking good for God, or trying to convince Him that we deserve to get into heaven because we worked hard to live a righteous life. Salvation is a matter of knowing Jesus.
If Christ’s righteousness isn’t covering our lives, we won’t enter into the kingdom of heaven. God expects us to keep His commandments, no doubt; but keeping His commandments won’t save us; “for you have been saved by grace through faith, and not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not the result of your works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Therefore, those who have truly received the gift of salvation won’t have to say a word to God about their works in the Day of Judgment, because Christ’s blood is enough; His grace is sufficient!