"Do my actions get me to heaven?"
No. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, that anyone does is good enough to enjoy a place in Gods presence or in His sinless eternal kingdom--not Mother Theresa, not Ghandi, not your sweet grandma, NOBODY.
You ever drive out in the country where everything smells nice and fresh? Then, all of a sudden you get a nose full of death and rot? Perhaps from some nearby two day old road kill? You know that smell I'm talking about, it makes you close your eyes and make ugly faces because it's so putrid and disgusting. It's so bad that the smell itself seems to be alive. You with me? Well, in God's presence, all sin is beyond foul. It doesn't matter if we're talking about little childhood lies or heinous adult crimes. Sin is sin, and if it doesn't flee from His presence, it is destroyed (drop a single drop of Dawn dish liquid into a bowl of water with some pepper resting on the water's surface...this will give you an idea of what sin does in His presence--it scatters...quickly!).
Our Father cannot look the other way and ignore our sin. If He could, He wouldn't be holy (the word "holy" is not really understood by many...you should look it up). To put it in a very small perspective: Imagine a highly respected local judge. One day his very own nephew is brought before the court on some very serious charges. Now imagine the judge dismisses the charges or gives a ridiculously lenient sentence. What happens to the honorable image and reputation of that judge? It suffers, of course. Man's righteousness is very corruptible, it happens all the time. But God's holiness prevents God to act without PERFECT righteousness. God doesn't have a conscious telling him he shouldn't do this, or look the other way at that...God IS the consciousness.
Since sin cannot dwell in His presence, and since we, his greatly loved children, are infested with sin, He provides us with a solution (just like you would provide a solution to save your own child from suffering or tragedy). There must be atonement for sin-- a reckoning, yet there's nothing we can do that's worthy enough of that atonement. So, (stay with me here) He steps in and takes our place! He (God) receives God's judgment and wrath, and spares us from eternal destruction! Boom! And to think that I consider myself a good dad if I take the blame for eating the last bit of ice cream so my girls don't get in trouble. You see, the Father became flesh (the Son) in order to be the sacrificial lamb that was needed. Only God's holiness in the form of a sinless physical being that faced the same temptations and tribulations as us would be good enough to be the perfect sacrifice. A sacrifice to wipe out sin from every man, woman, and child to have ever lived or will live. No sacrificial calf or ram, even without blemish, would be sufficient for such a task. We're talking about the WHOLE WORLD'S sin. That's a lot of people; Imagine the number of people just in your city alone. I mention this because we lose scope of magnitude when we hear someone say "world".
So when we accept His gift, we accept that His blood has paid the price. Our sins never appear before the Father for judgement. Let me be clear: Our sins were not removed, they were paid for...justice was exacted for them but somebody else took the punishment. Without our sins being washed clean from our soul, by HIS blood, (just to repeat) we would be on our own and would have to defend ourselves. For some, actually many, this will be the case (White Throne Judgement). Refusing the blood of Christ (which means Savior) at the time it's offered means you go to the Father as your own lawyer to defend your sin. You get to convince a Holy being (I won't say father here because at this point He has been refused) that your deeds outweigh your sins and you should be allowed to dwell in His spotless existence. Good luck!
No other "religion" (man-made term) presents a doctrine such as this and, in my humble opinion, furthers the case that this is the truth.
Many preachers have posed the question, "What will you tell God when he asks you--What have you done to deserve my kingdom?" These preachers are simply wrong if they say ANYTHING other than, "I have done nothing that deserves you, Oh God. But I gladly accept the gift of grace and mercy that you gave me through the blood of Christ, Jesus. He died in my place. Then He conquered death and rose again. It's because of this that my sin is not placed before you."
--til next time.