Can I simply be saved by being a good person?
If God is going to save a person because he has lived a morally good life, then the plan of salvation is no longer valid and there is therefore no more need for God’s grace. If this idea is true, then our salvation is based on works, not grace. This way of thinking demands that God will look at our life and base His decision of our salvation on whether we have been more good than bad. Why then did Jesus die on the cross? Man could have been saved without Jesus simply by being a good person. The problem is that no matter how good we may be, we have all still sinned (Romans 3:23), nor can our good life be equivalent to righteousness (Romans 3:10). We must put on righteousness in order to be found right in God’s eyes. And this demands that our sins be forgiven. Forgiveness is not based on living a morally good life, but rather on living by faith that the blood of Jesus will save us if we follow His commandments in obedience.
In the bible, we have an example of a good person named Cornelius. Acts 10:2 tells us that he was “a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always.” But we learn that he was not saved by all of that. In Acts 10:5-6, he is told by God to go get a man named Simon and that Simon would tell him what he must do. In Acts 11:14, we understand that what Simon was to tell him were the “words by which you and all your household will be saved.” Before, Cornelius was a very good person, but he was still a lost person. After he heard the words that Simon brought to him in order to be saved, he and his household were all baptized for the forgiveness of their sins, according to Acts 10:48.