Read John 6:24-40
Several religions teach works as a path to salvation. The core of Protestant churches, however, believes works are the outpouring of the Holy Spirit working in the life of a saved individual.
After Jesus performed the miracle of multiplying the bread and fish to feed the 4,000, a group of people searched for Jesus. When they found him, they asked him what works God requires. This was his answer:
Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” – John 6:28-29
All God requires is to believe in the one he has sent.
I’m not saying good works mean nothing, but they will not, can not get a person to Heaven.
Think of it this way. God is perfect. He is a white sheet, devoid of any impurity. There’s no dirt, stains, anything on God. God requires perfection in his presence to remain perfect. Before we can approach God, we have to set our cookies and red juice down. We are but children, so we forget. God employs His son, our “older brother” to ensure we approach Him with nothing that can make God impure. So Jesus take our cookies and juice at the door to God’s house so we may not ever stain our Father.
That’s very simplistic, but it conveys why, no matter how much you try to remember to keep all of God’s rules, you will forget and bring red juice onto His white sheets. Any sin can be the red juice, from those we consider abhorrent like murder or adultery, to those we commit every day like lying and coveting. A little red juice is still red juice.
No matter how much good you do, you can not be good enough to save yourself. When I worked doing Evangelism Explosion in college, we would ask people how they knew they were going to Heaven. The number one answer was “I ain’t never killed nobody.” They missed the point. God didn’t say, “Don’t commit murder and you get a pass into My kingdom.”
Even one lie will condemn you to death. You cannot do enough good be absolved of even one lie. All that is required is that you believe in the One God sent.
If you believe in Jesus as the true Son of God and you place your faith in Him for eternal salvation, you will do good works. Not because works are required, but because your heart will want to see the Kingdom of God rejoice and delight in your works.