Sharon Harris is wife, mother, English teacher, amateur photographer, and gardener.

How can I convince my friend she won’t go to heaven because of doing good deeds?


Question: I am so saddened about a friend of mine who is not a Christian, and she says that she is not interested in becoming one. I have prayed for her for years, and I don’t know what else to do. She thinks she will go to heaven because she says that she’s a good person. I can’t make her understand that good works is not why people go to heaven.  What else can I do?

Answer:  Your prayers for your friend are so important! And, undoubtedly, you have shared the hope you have now and for the future because of your experiences of trusting Jesus in your own daily life.  It has been rightly penned, “You are the only Bible that most people will ever read.”  Truly, most of the world will not ever read a Bible, but they will learn about Jesus from observing Christians and the lives that they lead. The inerrant and authoritative Word of God, the Bible, assures us that, although we should tell what we know about Jesus, it’s not our responsibility to make sure that others accept Jesus as their Savior and Leader; that’s the Holy Spirit’s full-time job.  What a relief!  It’s also interesting to note why our human efforts at convincing others to submit to Christ don’t always seem to succeed. The scriptures explain that people who don’t have God’s Spirit living in them yet cannot naturally comprehend spiritual truths. In other words, they just don’t get it.  They can’t!  From I Corinthians:  For the message of Jesus’ atonement for us through the cross seems like foolishness to those who are perishing because they are without God, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God. 1:18

If the rulers of this age had known at the time that they were crucifying the Lord of glory, they would never have done such a thing. It’s written in Isaiah 64: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man all of the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For this Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what can a man know only through his own human spirit? No, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. We speak to you about truths, not from our own minds, but from the Holy Spirit.  But the natural man doesn’t receive the truths from the Holy Spirit, for they seem like foolishness to him; nor can he know or understand them at all because they are spiritually discerned. 2:8-14

From II Corinthians:  But even if our gospel message about Jesus is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds that Satan, the god of this age, have blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine of them. 4:3-4

So, if people can’t understand spiritual truths before they become believers, how can anyone ever become a believer?  It’s a miracle!  Salvation of souls happens because of God, not because of men.  The Scriptures say that when a person begins to search for God’s truth, the Holy Spirit of God will begin to open his understanding to things he’s never considered before. The prophet Jeremiah wrote that God promised His people, the Jews exiled in Babylon, that He would respond to their prayers to Him to know Him:  When you call to me in prayer, then I will listen to you. When you search for me, you will find me, when you search for me with all of your heart. And I will be found by you… Jeremiah 29:12-13

Have you ever thought about what someone learns about Jesus from getting to know you? How can you demonstrate to others the great hope that Jesus gives you?  Is your life as a believer really any different from the lives of unbelievers?

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