There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
If you try hard enough at school, you’ll pass. If you try hard enough at sports, you’ll (usually) win. If you try hard enough at work, you’ll advance in your career. This seems right and logical.
So if you try hard enough to be a good person, you’ll go to Heaven, right? Not so fast. That isn’t what the Gospel says.
The issue is a matter of perspective. Heaven is not an attainable goal without assistance. We are flawed by nature and Heaven is free from sin.
Allow me to draw upon an illustration that helped me understand it the first time I was presented with the Gospel in detail:
We stand on the edge of a cliff. Heaven on another edge of cliff 100 feet away. The greatest long-jumper in the world wouldn’t be able to make it even half way to the other side before plummeting to his demise. That’s us when we try to be “good enough” for Heaven. The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus constructed a bridge for us to give us free, safe passage to the other side.
We want to think that we can do anything if we put our blood, sweat, and tears into it. For most earthly things, that’s not far from the truth. When it comes to salvation it is a different story. We can only be saved by letting Jesus put his blood, sweat, and tears into it.