Imagine working on a super important project for work, or school, or let's say even just for fun. You put hours, days, maybe perhaps years of research into this depending on what it is. It doesn't really matter whether it's a spreadsheet, a slideshow, or even just a Word document. What matters is the time and effort that has gone into your task. You feel great about the great things you have done to get this project in order. The idea has flowed from your brain to your computer screen better than you could have ever intended it to. You have found the perfect quotes, pictures, and anecdotes to go with your ideas. You hit spell check and find that, as usual, there are no squiggly red lines under any words. Everything is spelled correctly. There are no green squigglies to indicate run-on sentences or fragments. Just as you begin to pat yourself on the back and reflect on how great you are, the screen goes black. Your computer begins to smoke. The computer just died and all of your work with it. You look down at the Lexar 16gb USB flash drive with the horrible realization. "I never saved."
Now for a moment picture your life as your work. Maybe you have lived a great life. Masters degree on the wall. You don't drink. You don't swear. You've never been to jail. Never even gotten as much as a parking ticket. You go work at homeless shelters a couple times a month and even swing by church on Christmas and Easter or to light an occasional candle or two. The final "period" of your work is the Ugandan refugee boy that you adopted last year. Your self righteousness is at an all time high. The world just looks at you and says, "man, that is one great person!" If there was a "spell check" of life, yours would be devoid of any red marks. You of course pat yourself on the back in agreement. The drunk driver that just t-boned your car isn't impressed. Now your computer screen goes black. Life is over. Your good works didn't save you as indicated by the flames, anguish and screams of torment. Hell is real and you and the other people who thought good was good enough are there, wondering why.
Hell is the destiny, sadly, for many people who the world would consider "good". This fiery Eternity is also the end result for people in works based religious systems. As sad as it may seem, being good and doing good works and being religious just won't cut it on our day in Eternal Court. We are not going to be able to bribe the Judge with our righteous deeds, kind acts, and religious fulfillment of duties on Judgment Day. The only way to satisfy God's wrath is the only Way He gave us. Jesus Christ. John 14:6 tells us, "Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." He makes no mention of any other "way" to the Father. There is no "auto save". You are not going to Heaven because your mom is a Christian or because you fed the homeless. You are not going to get past the pearly gates by way of infant baptism, ashes on your forehead once a year or flying a plane into a building. All of those are religious "duties" and none are sufficient. Remember what Jesus told the religious people of his day after He gave the list of righteous activities they would display for him. "Depart from me, all you workers of evil." Why is this the case? Because it doesn't matter if you like to go to Church once in a while to make yourself feel better. It won't matter if you've fed every homeless person from Los Angeles to Amarillo if you have ever told one lie. Even a lie, which is minor in human estimation, is punishable by the Lake of Fire according to the Bible. If you use your eyes to look with lust, that is adultery according to Jesus. Hatred is murder according to 1 John 3:15. These are just 3 of the 10 Commandments. We are all guilty regardless of whatever good deeds we have done or how religious we are.
Now some are going to say, "doesn't the Bible say that faith without works is dead?" Well yes, yes it does. What this means is that you should do good things if you are saved so that you will be known as a Christ follower by your fruit, not because you will be saved by doing them. So how does one get saved? Repentance and faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross as the payment for your sins. God will accept no religious filler or bribes as a substitute for His perfect sacrificial Lamb, Jesus. Ten out of every ten people die. That is the ultimate statistic. Don't get to this black screen of life without being saved at the end. Ask forgiveness. Confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead. Repent and believe the Gospel. Read your Bible daily and obey what it says.
Thus, knowing their works,
English Standard Version (ESV)
he overturns them in the night, and they are crushed.(italics added)