God has to be true to Himself. People are foolish to entertain the hope that He will ignore justice and sacrifice holiness in order to allow unbelievers into heaven. Living a mostly moral life will not satisfy a righteous Judge.
As much as the Lord loves us and desires to save us from our sins, He cannot deny His holiness by accepting sin in His presence. The Father is pristine perfection--a holy Being who, by His very nature, must condemn all sin. Therefore, it is the height of egotism to think that God will bend both His law and His nature to welcome one whom still bears the stain of wrongdoing.
There is not one person who's good enough to enter heaven on his or her own merit. Every one of us needs Jesus. The stain of sin is washed clean only by the sacrifice of God's holy and blameless Son. Those who believe in Christ are forgiven their wrongs and cloaked in His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21).
Let me make it very clear that trusting Jesus is far more than giving intellectual assent to His existence--that's something even the Devil acknowledges. A true believer enters into a relationship with the One who loves his soul enough to save him from eternal punishment.
Those who remain tightly wrapped in their mantle of sin cannot hope to sneak into heaven. God's holy nature demands perfection, and since we can't provide this for ourselves, the Lord has given it to all who believe in Him. He has exchanged our filthy rags for a cloak of righteousness (Zech. 3:4).
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